Saudi Arabia has increased its estimate for untapped mineral resources in the Kingdom to a staggering $2.5 trillion, up from the $1.3 trillion forecasted in 2016.
The nation plans to issue over 30 mining exploration licenses to global investors, introducing new regulations allowing larger exploration areas to mine rare earth metals required for electric vehicles.
The kingdom has also launched a $182 million mineral exploration incentive program introduced at the Future Minerals Forum to tap into new reserves of gold, copper, and phosphate.
An Exciting Discovery in the Kingdom’s Geology
Saudi Arabia’s Minister for Mineral Resources and Industry, Bandar Al Khorayef, conveyed the exhilarating news, expressing considerable interest in the discovery.
“This increase of $1.2 trillion is a combination of more of what we have, like phosphate, and new, like rare earths, and revaluation of (commodities) pricing,” Mining Minister Bandar Al-Khorayef.
A formal announcement will made on Wednesday during the Future Minerals Forum (FMF) mining gathering.
This newfound wealth isn’t just constrained to oil. The mineral reserves encompass gold, copper, phosphate, and rare earth elements, bringing forth promising prospects of economic diversification beyond the oil-driven economy Saudi Arabia is known for.
“We believe today that our reserves’ potential has grown by 90%,” Mining Minister Bandar Al-Khorayef said.
The Future Minerals Forum
The Future Minerals Forum witnessed the Saudi government announcing $20 billion worth of deals to be signed. This annual minerals forum is a testament to the recent reforms in the Kingdom’s laws and business practices, which have been pivotal in attracting significant investment.
“Deals worth 75 billion riyals ($20 billion) are expected to be signed in Riyadh during this week’s industry event, he added, announcing the fifth and sixth rounds of a licensing program offering access to 33 exploration sites this year.”
During the forum, the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources also disclosed its list of preferred bidders in the fourth series of mining licensing rounds, part of the Accelerated Exploration Program initiative.
The Third Pillar of Saudi Arabia’s Industrial Revolution
The Saudi government has earmarked mining as the third industrial pillar to move its economy from relying on hydrocarbons. The Kingdom has already developed 33 new exploration sites for mining and intends to award more than 30 mining exploration licenses to foreign investors in 2024.
In a strategic move to accelerate this sector, Saudi Arabia has announced a new mineral exploration incentive program with a budget exceeding $182 million.
Vision 2030: Steering the Economic Wheel Beyond Oil
Saudi Arabia has been at the helm of an economic transformation plan named Vision 2030. This blueprint aims to steer the nation’s income sources away from hydrocarbons and channel development in sectors like tourism, industry, and mining to bolster non-oil GDP.
According to Al Khorayef, the revised estimates are based on just 30% of the Arabian shields exploration, suggesting that an enormous potential is still waiting to be discovered.
“We are very excited about this news … it’s a result of what we have been doing in the last four years,” Al Khorayef stated.
Saudi Arabia has undertaken proactive measures to underscore its determination to become a significant player in the global mining landscape.
The mineral exploration incentive program, strategic partnerships, licensing rounds, and investments position Saudi Arabia for substantial growth in its mining sector.
Ma’aden: Spearheading the Mining Sector’s Development
Ma’aden, the flagship Saudi mining company owned 67% by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, is leading the charge in developing the domestic mining sector and investing in assets abroad.
“We have the largest exploration program in the world…we look at mining not only (as) mining for minerals and mining resources but also data mining,” said Yasir Al Rumayyan, governor of PIF.
Saudi Arabia has recently discovered large potential gold reserves in the Makkah Region. The exploration around Mansourah Massarah was centered on identifying potential deposits of a similar scale with similar geology.
The encouraging drill results from multiple sites on Uruq South have uncovered geological characteristics and chemistry akin to the Mansourah Massarah deposit.
This discovery is attractive to foreign companies seeking to enter the Saudi market directly or form coalitions with local counterparts to exploit the vast mineral wealth in the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia’s Flourishing Future
Saudi Arabia is poised for significant growth, with a clear vision and strategic initiatives already showing promising results.
The Kingdom’s commitment to diversifying its economy, mainly through the development of the mining sector, showcases its forward-thinking approach and resilience in the face of global economic shifts.
As the nation continues to explore and exploit its vast mineral resources, it’s safe to say that Saudi Arabia’s future looks brighter than ever.