Saudi Arabia attracted non-oil industrial investment worth nearly 11.7 billion Saudi riyals ($3.1 billion) in the first five months of 2021 as it is pushing ahead with an economic diversification drive, according to official data. 

The world’s dominant oil exporter issued permits for 411 industrial projects during January-May period this year and they mainly covered building materials, chemicals, food products, equipment, paper and other products. 

Figures released by the Industry and Mineral Resources Ministry and published by Almadina and other newspapers showed 620 projects that have been licensed over the past two years have been commissioned. 

Until the end of May, the number of mining permits awarded to local and foreign investors totaled 1,357, including 497 permits for mine exploration and 165 for minerals production, the report showed. 

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)