Saudi Arabia has announced the discovery of large potential gold reserves in the Makkah Region.
The Saudi Arabia Mining Company Ma’aden, which is 67% owned by the Public Investment Fund, announced the discovery along a 100km stretch south of its existing Mansourah Massarah gold mine.
Robert Wilt, CEO of Maaden, said that these discoveries have the potential to be the center of the world’s next gold rush.
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.
Positive drill results from various locations along a 100km stretch south of Mansourah Massarah in the Uruq South region have unveiled geological characteristics and chemistry akin to the Mansourah Massarah deposit.
Analyses of collected samples have revealed the presence of high-grade gold deposits, with concentrations measuring 10.4 grams per ton (g/t) gold and 20.6 g/t gold in two arbitrary drilling sites situated 400 meters away and beneath Mansourah Massarah.
This implies a substantial density of gold within the tested ore from those specific locations. In response to these findings, Maaden has outlined plans for an assertive expansion of scheduled drilling activities in 2024 surrounding the Mansourah Massarah area.
Ma’aden has continued to expand its exploration footprint at the Jabal Ghadarah and Bir Tawilah prospects, 25km north of Mansourah Massarah. The company is converting an inferred resource of 1.5 million ounces to indicated and measured status.
A Potentially Major Gold Belt
The positive drilling results have identified a potentially 125km strike with significant potential to become a central world-class gold belt in Saudi Arabia. The near-mine drilling results around Mansourah Massarah suggest the resource is open at depth and along the strike.
This offers significant potential to expand resources at the mine and extend the mine life with underground development.
Mansourah Massarah had stated gold resources of almost seven million ounces at year-end 2023, with a nameplate production capacity of 250,000 ounces yearly. This capacity indicates the significant potential of the mine to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s economy.
The Impact on the Saudi Economy
Last year, Ma’aden embarked on one of the world’s largest exploration programs. These discoveries demonstrate the untapped potential of mineral resources in Saudi Arabia, supporting the country’s diversification in line with Vision 2030.
The goal is to establish mining as the third pillar of the Saudi economy.
The World’s Next Gold Rush
Ma’aden’s CEO, Robert Wilt, believes these discoveries have the potential to be at the center of the world’s next gold rush. Furthermore, they form a strong part of the company’s growth strategy.
The Arabian Shield has enormous potential for more world-class discoveries, and this is the first of many expected in the coming years.
The Largest Mining Company
As Saudi Arabia’s largest mining company, Ma’aden is at the forefront of development for the Saudi sector. The company will continue to support the growth and evolution of the industry, contributing significantly to the country’s economy.
Ownership and Foreign Investment
Ma’aden is 67% owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the kingdom’s $700 billion sovereign wealth fund and the largest miner in the Gulf. In January 2023, it announced Manara Minerals, a joint venture with PIF, to invest in mining assets abroad.
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.
A Technologically Advanced Mine
Mansourah Massarah is the newest, largest, and most technologically advanced gold mine in Saudi Arabia. It produced 11,982.84 ounces of gold in 2022. The mine comprises the Mansourah Massarah resources, developed as conventional open-pit mines.
The plant employs Carbon-In-Leach and Pressure Oxidation Processes and autoclave technologies for ore gold production. This mine has cutting-edge mining, processing, and environmental sustainability technologies.
Looking Towards the Future
With this significant discovery, Saudi Arabia consolidates its position as a global source of natural mineral resources.
The Arabian Shield, which covers an area of 630,000 km, boasts numerous precious metals, such as gold and silver, base metals, such as copper, zinc, lead, iron, chrome, molybdenum, manganese, nickel, titanium, and rare earth elements.
The Kingdom is witnessing rapid efforts to develop the mining sector, setting new stimulating regulations and guidelines to facilitate the entry of companies. The mineral wealth is estimated to be worth around 5 trillion riyals (USD1.3 trillion), indicating a bright future for Saudi Arabia’s economy.