Saudi Arabia has set May 8 deadline for applications by investors to exploit 13 limestone sites near the capital Riyadh, a newspaper said on Thursday. 

The projects involve the extraction of limestone at the 13 sites for the manufacturing of ornamental stones and rocks, the Arabic language daily Aliqtisadia said. 

The Industry and Mineral Resources Ministry will pre-qualify bidders before awarding mining permits to winning investors in a general competition, the paper said. 

“The Ministry will provide a fair environment for all contesters to ensure a successful permit awarding process,” the paper said, citing a Ministry statement. 

It said the projects are part of plans to tap the Gulf Kingdom’s massive mining wealth with the aim of diversifying its oil-reliant economy within Vision 2030. 

The Ministry said it would announce successful applicants on its websites, adding that it would oversee all the projects to ensure they are in compliance with safety and environment laws. 

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)