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    In March, the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, in collaboration with the Ministry of Investment, unveiled a comprehensive mineral exploration incentives package worth SAR 685 million (USD 182 million). The initiative aims to invigorate investment in mining exploration, aligning with Vision 2030 and the kingdom's sustainable development objectives.

    Designed to enhance geological understanding, uncover untapped mineral resources, and foster local exploration capabilities, these incentives focus on encouraging investment in exploration activities and nurturing local talent within the mining sector.

    Under the newly introduced incentives, companies holding valid exploration licenses for less than five years stand to benefit, with each eligible for support of up to SAR 7.5 million. Furthermore, companies can seek support for up to 15 licenses, subject to the programme's terms and conditions.

    In April, the ministry also unveiled six lucrative mining opportunities, inviting both local and international investors to participate in the fifth round of mining competitions for exploration licenses. These opportunities span various regions of the kingdom and encompass gold, copper, zinc, lead, and silver ores, covering an area of over 940 square kilometres (sq km).


    Among the highlighted investment prospects is the Al-Halahila site in the Najran region, boasting an estimated area exceeding 34 sq km and rich in copper, zinc, and gold. Additionally, the Jabal Qaran site, also situated in Najran, offers exploration potential across an area exceeding 57 sq km, with deposits of copper, gold, zinc, silver, and lead.

    Other notable sites include Makman Hijab in the Riyadh region, spanning more than 118 sq km and housing gold and silver ore deposits; and An-Nimas in the Asir region, sprawling over 222 sq km with reserves of copper, zinc, silver, and gold.

    Further opportunities await at the Al-Mihah site in the Makkah region, encompassing an area exceeding 234 sq km and featuring deposits of copper, zinc, lead, silver, and gold, as well as the Al-Hajirah site in Asir, extending over 274 sq km and with silver, copper, zinc, lead, and gold reserves.

    Interested parties have until the beginning of May 2024 to submit technical offers for competition in acquiring exploration licenses for these sites. The ministry has also facilitated access to geological and technical data for the sites through an information platform. Winners of the bidding stage are slated to be announced by the end of June 2024

    In designing the competition, the ministry aims to foster the participation of both local and foreign companies with expertise in mining exploration. Evaluation during the submission phase will focus on technical competence, financial capacity, as well as the quality of submitted technical work programmes, social and environmental impact plans, and investment proposals.


    The latest moves come as the mining ministry saw a significant uptick in demand for mining licenses following the enactment of the new Mining Investment Law in January 2021. The law, aimed at fostering investment and development in the sector, has seen the number of exploitation licenses surge from eight before its implementation to 19 in 2023, marking a 138% growth rate.

    The increase underscores the authorities’ commitment to elevate the mining sector as a cornerstone of its national industry, positioning Saudi Arabia as an attractive global hub for mining activities. With an estimated mineral wealth valued at SAR 9.4 trillion, the kingdom is poised to maximise the exploitation of its vast resources.

    The Mining Investment Law has streamlined the process of obtaining mining licenses, attracting both local and international investors. Notably, the number of building material quarry licenses skyrocketed by 241% to 538 in 2023 from 158 pre-law enactment, while exploration licenses surged to 259 in 2023 compared to 58 before the law, representing a remarkable growth rate of 347%.

    The implementation of mining strategy initiatives, such as the Accelerated Exploration Program, has played a pivotal role in issuing more licenses. These initiatives have significantly reduced the time required for obtaining the necessary approvals, a process that previously spanned several months.


    Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma'aden), the largest multi-commodity nfirm in the Middle East, has earned international acclaim from DNV, certifying its production of 614,000 tonnes of ultra-low carbon ammonia – the largest quantity accredited worldwide thus far. This milestone underscores Ma’aden’s strategic thrust towards becoming an exemplary environmental, social, and governance (ESG) model within the country.

    With its ranking as the second-largest exporter of phosphate fertilisers globally, Ma’aden possesses considerable potential to solidify its standing as a premier producer of ultra-low carbon ammonia. This accomplishment follows Ma’aden's ambitious initiative to ship over 138,000 tonnes of blue ammonia to major global markets, including the European Union and China, underscoring the company’s escalating involvement in global value chains.


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