Saudi Arabia has announced the start of prequalification phase for five new mining opportunities that were showcased at the Future Minerals Forum 2023 (FMF 2023) in Riyadh last month.

The five sites, according to an Arabic language press statement issued by the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, are as follows:

  • Ar Ridaniyah [Radainiyah] site in Riyadh: Covering an area of 75.86 square kilometres (sq km), it has deposits of zinc. It 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, 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 stated that the bidding process for the five sites will comprise of two stages: a pre-qualification stage followed by a presentation stage in which the qualified firms will be invited to present the work programme and impact management plans.

The exploration licenses are planned to be awarded by the third quarter of 2023, the statement said, noting that Muhadad and Ridaniyah sites are slated for the second quarter and the remaining three sites for the third quarter of 2023.

The Kingdom had awarded two major exploration licenses last year, namely Khnaiguiyah in September 2022 and Umm Ad Damar in October 2022.

Incentives offered law include co-funding of up to 75 percent of any new investment, a five-year royalty holiday for miners and royalty discounts for downstream projects. 

(Writing by Majda Muhsen; Editing by Anoop Menon)