Saudi geologists aim to unlock Kingdom’s $1.3trln mineral wealth

The plan has a budget of SR2 billion and is being driven by the Saudi Geological Survey which will survey an area of about 600,000 square kilometers across the geological formation known as the Arabian Shield

  
A worker carries a bag containing coals before being sold at one of the charcoal sites in Jeddah March 14, 2014.

A worker carries a bag containing coals before being sold at one of the charcoal sites in Jeddah March 14, 2014.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

LONDON: Saudi geologists are collaborating with international colleagues to undertake a vast survey of the Kingdom’s mineral reserves, estimated to be worth $1.3 trillion.

The Regional Geological Survey Program (RGP) aims to conduct a series of surveys over the next six years that are set to provide new opportunities for international mining investors.

The plan has a budget of SR2 billion and is being driven by the Saudi Geological Survey which will survey an area of about 600,000 square kilometers across the geological formation known as the Arabian Shield.

“With the assistance of global experts, and our growing expertise, we can unlock the country’s mineral potential and train local and international geologists,” said RGP Director Wadee Kashghari. “This will be supported by the advantage of the country’s unique geological landscape with limited presence of vegetation cover.”

The survey represents a key component of the mining strategy that forms part of Saudi Vision 2030. It will be conducted in collaboration with technical experts and contractual partners from different countries such as Finland, China, the UK and South Africa.

Some 500 technical staff are working on the program alongside international partners.

The project also aims to help progress junior geological scientists through in-depth training.

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