Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources has announced the indicative timelines for the bidding cycle of five new mineral exploration opportunities showcased at the Future Minerals Forum 2023 (FMF 2023) in Riyadh in January 2023.
The five sites are as follows:
·Ar Ridaniyah [Radainiyah] site in Riyadh: Covering an area of 75.86 square kilometres (sq km), it has zinc deposits and is located within the underexplored Alamar belt.
·Umm Hadid site in Riyadh: Spread over an area of more than 246.35 sq km, it contains deposits of silver, lead, zinc, and copper. It is located within the underexplored Nabetah belt.
·Bir Umq in Madinah: Spanning an area of 187.37 sq km, the site is rich in copper and zinc. It is located within the underexplored Jabal Sayd belt.
·Jabal Sahabiyah in Asir: The site, spread over 283.81 sq km, contains zinc, lead, and copper deposits. It is located within the underexplored As Shaib belt.
·Muhadad [Muhaddad] site in Asir: Spread over 138.69 sq km, the site contains copper, zinc, lead, and gold. It is located within the underexplored Bisha belt.
The Ministry's official spokesperson Jarrah bin Mohammed Al-Jarrah said the prequalified bidders for Muhaddad and Ar Ridaniyah would be announced in April 2023 with a bid submission deadline of May 2023. The results of the bidding stage will be declared in June 2023, and the exploration licenses for the winning bidders will be issued within three months of the end of the round.
Al-Jarrah said the prequalified bidders for Umm Hadid, Bir Umq, and Jabal Sahabiyah would be announced in June 2023. The proposal submission deadline will be July 2023, and the Ministry will announce the results of the bidding stage in August 2023. Following this, the exploration license will be issued within three months of the end of the round.
Al-Jarrah indicated that the timelines might be subject to changes at the discretion of the Ministry.
The announcement of the five mining investment opportunities comes within the framework of the Kingdom's efforts within the Accelerated Exploration Initiative announced by the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources earlier in 2022.
The investment opportunities aim to exploit the mineral resources in the Kingdom and achieve the goals of Vision 2030 in raising the mining sector's contributions to the GDP to $64 billion in 2030. It aims to diversify the economic base in the Kingdom and for mining to be the third pillar of the national industry.
(Writing by Majda Muhsen; Editing by Anoop Menon)