Saudi Arabia is planning to offer several projects to the private sector to tap its massive mineral wealth with a value of more than 40 billion Saudi riyals ($10.6 billion), a local newspaper said on Thursday. 

The projects include the construction a copper, zinc and lead smelter, an alumina refinery, the production of phosphorous and its derivatives and other products, the Arabic language daily Aliqitisadia said, quoting a statement by the Saudi Industry and Mineral Resources Ministry. 

The National Centre for Industrial Development has identified such “investment opportunities” in cooperation with the Ministry, the paper said. 

More projects could be identified after the completion of geophysical surveys in some areas of the Gulf Kingdom for the exploration of Lithium, a metal used in the manufacture of car batteries and other products, the report added. 

In 2020, Saudi Arabia began enforcing a law to encourage investment in its metals sector, with an estimated value of $1.3 trillion. 

The world’s largest oil exporter has awarded scores of exploration and industry permits for domestic and foreign investors in that field. 

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)