In 2022, Saudi Arabia plans to auction up to three mining licences, including the Khnaiguiyah mines, which are expected to have zinc and copper deposits worth roughly 26 million tonnes.
The licences will be issued under a new mining law that took effect in January 2021 and intends to boost foreign investment in the industry as part of the country’s efforts to diversify its economy away from hydrocarbons.
“Khnaiguiyah will be first,” Bandar Al-khorayef, Saudi Arabia’s Mining and Industry Minister said, adding that the bidding process would start by the end of this quarter, or the beginning of the second quarter.
The minister, speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of an international mining conference in Riyadh, said the bidding process would take about six months, including the pre-qualification phase.
The bidding process will take about six months, including the pre-qualification phase
He also stated that two additional locations would be auctioned pending technical validation, stating that they were aiming for “three… more or less, but yes, this requires some technical validation.”
Riyadh’s efforts to diversify its economy away from oil and government subsidies include exploring massive undiscovered amounts of bauxite, the primary source of aluminium, as well as phosphate, gold, copper, and uranium. The government estimates the Kingdom’s unused mineral resources to be valued at SAR 5 trillion ($1.33 trillion).
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest supplier of crude oil, plans to exploit its massive uranium resources to establish a nuclear power programme, the Kingdom’s energy minister said at the same conference.
Riyadh has said it aims to create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs in the mining sector by 2030
Riyadh has said it aims to create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs in the mining sector by 2030.
There will be a designed legal framework for those licences, the minister said. “So there will be certain activities that will be offered by the bidder and that’s how we will evaluate the bids.”
Bidders can choose between focusing on technology, making a contribution to the local community, or other criteria, he said. He said the formula is complicated, but it allows the government to analyse alternative offers based on multiple elements and KPIs (key performance indicators).