Saudi Arabia issued 71 new mining permits in July within an intensified drive to attract capital to its lucrative mineral industry, according to official figures.
The new permits brought the total number of mining licenses issued by the Industry and Mineral Resources Ministry to 2,348 since the world’s dominant oil exporter began enforcing a new mining investment law four years ago.
Ministry data showed the latest licenses included 45 for exploration, 21 for building material manufacturing, and five for metal ore.
The capital Riyadh has emerged the largest location for licensed mining sites over the past four years, with 610 permits, the report showed.
It was followed by the Western Makkah city with 384 licenses, the Eastern region with 380 and the Western Medina province with 265 permits.
The new law endorsed by the Saudi cabinet is part of 'Vision 2030' economic diversification plan and is designed to attract capital to tap the Gulf kingdom’s minerals sector, with an estimated value of nearly 5 trillion Saudi riyals ($1.33 trillion).
(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)
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