The Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources has issued 46 new mining licences during January 2023, including 31 exploration licences, 14 building materials quarry licences, and an excess mineral ores licence.

According to the report of the Ministry's National Centre for Industrial and Mining Information, the number of active mining licences in the sector by the end of January 2023 totalled 2,230.

Taking the lead are quarry licences for building materials with 1,331 licences, followed by 647 exploration licences, 178 small mine exploitation licence, 42 reconnaissance licences, and 32 mineral ores licences.

Active mining licences

Of the total active mining licences, the largest number have been awarded to projects within the province of Riyadh with a total of 507 licences, followed by 418 licences in the Makkah region, 369 licences in the eastern region, 242 licences in the Madinah region, and 191 licences in the Asir region. Other regions to have been granted licences include Tabuk (139), Qassim (102), Hail (68), Jazan (65), Najran (45), Al-Baha region (37), the Northern Borders (25), and Al-Jouf (22).

Saudi Arabia's Mining Investment Law offers six types of mining licences, ranging from a two-year, five year and twenty-year mineral exploration licence to a licence to quarry building materials for up to 10 years. The law also includes exploration licences for minerals of two categories (A) and (B), with licence periods ranging from 20 to 30 years.

The Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources aims to develop the mining sector in line with the objectives of the kingdom's Vision 2030 and the National Industry Development and Logistics Program, with the goal of making mining the third pillar of the national industry.

With mineral resources estimated to be worth around SR5 trillion ($1.33 trillion), there is great potential for the sector to contribute significantly to the country's economy.

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