Oil giant Saudi Arabia attracted more than $8 billion in foreign direct capital in its mining industry in 2021 following the passing of a law to encourage investment in this sector as part of the Gulf kingdom’s economic diversification drive, the Saudi Industry and Mineral Resources Minister said. 

Khalid Al-Mudaifer told the South African ‘Mining Weekly’ magazine that the new law has spurred negotiations with many domestic and foreign firms seeking to tap the country’s massive mining resources, estimated at 5 trillion Saudi riyals ($1.33 trillion). 

He said the law included nearly “40 initiatives” designed to improve the investment climate in the Kingdom’s mining sector and simplify exploration licenses. 

“The new law provides a healthy and clear organisational environment and a transparent process of license issuing in this industry,” the Minister said. 

“We have made great progress in creating one of the best mining investment climates in the world…this allowed us to achieve a 27 percent growth in the mining revenue in 2021…total investments and revenues exceeded $8 billion during that year.” 

Mudaifer said a survey of several foreign firms conducted by the Ministry recently showed that nearly 80 percent of them are “considering investing in the Kingdom’s mining sector, which proves the minerals strategy is working.” 

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)