Saudi Arabia will announce the names of pre-qualified companies which will be able to bid for 13 limestone blocks near its capital Riyadh on May 23, a newspaper in the world’s largest oil exporter said on Tuesday. 

The Gulf Kingdom in April invited investors to take advantage of its new mining law and bid for the sites in Hafirat Nisah in Al-Muzahmiya Governorate province in Riyadh. 

Investors awarded exploration licences will exploit the site’s limestone resources for the manufacture of ornamental stones and other products. 

“The Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources will announce the names of the pre-qualified bidders on May 23,” the Arabic language daily Aliqtisadia said. 

It said 39 companies had applied for investment in those sites, adding that the Ministry would then organize visits by the pre-qualified firms to examine the blocks before they are granted exploration permits. 

In 2021, Saudi Arabia began enforcing a new mining law to attract investors to its $1.3 trillion metal industry as part of its landmark economic diversification plan known as Vision 2030. 

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)