Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources (MIM) has invited bids from international and local mining groups for the pre-qualification stage of the licensing for five major exploration sites in the kingdom.

The deposit sites involved in the licencing bid include:

*Muhaddad site - Spanning a 138.69 sq km area it includes copper, zinc, lead and gold located within the underexplored Bisha belt, in the Asir region.

*Ar Radainiyah site - Covers 75.86 sq km and includes zinc, located within the underexplored Alamar belt in the Riyadh region.

*Umm Hadid site - Covers 246.35 sq km and includes copper, zinc, lead and silver, located within the underexplored Nabetih belt in the Riyadh region.

*Bir Umq site - Covers 187.37 sq km and includes copper and zinc, located within the underexplored Jabal Sayd belt in the Al Madinah region.

*Jabal Sahabiyah site - Covers 283.81 sq kilometers and includes copper, zinc, and lead, located within the underexplored As Shaib belt in the Asir region.

Announcing the launch of the pre-qualification stage of the licensing, the ministry said the licensing round will be implemented in two stages - the qualification stage and the proposal stage - following which the qualified bidders are invited to submit their best work programme and social & environmental impact management plans.

The Ministry is planning to conclude the licensing rounds for the five sites by the third quarter of 2023, with the anticipated conclusion date of both Muhaddad and Ar Radiniyah being the second quarter of 2023, while Umm Haddid, Bir Umq, and Jabal Sahabiyah will be completed by Q 3 2022.

The data rooms of the five sites are now available and include all historical work conducted on the site and a pre-feasibility study.

The Ministry’s approach represents a significant step in the licensing process to make mining opportunities in Saudi Arabia more attractive to investors in alignment with the Kingdom’s main objectives in the licensing round: transparency, compliance, and collaboration with the mining sector.

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