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Global firms tour new Saudi mining sites

Miner Saudi Reuters/Fahad Shadeed
The kingdom is inviting proposals from qualified bidders for the fourth mining licensing round

A group of local and global companies took part in a tour to explore the geological potential of a number of sites in Saudi Arabia, ahead of the next round of bids for new mining licenses.

The kingdom’s ministry of industry and mineral resources said it expects to receive proposals from qualified bidders for the fourth licensing round of exploration sites by the end of next month.

The sites include Bir Umq in Madinah province, for copper and zinc; Umm Hadid in Riyadh province, for silver, lead, zinc and copper; and Jabal Sahabiyah site in Aseer province, for zinc, lead and copper.

The bidders must present their technical capabilities, develop their best work program, as well as environmental and social impact management plans.

The bidding process is merit-based and evaluates each submission based on its technical and social merits, a ministry spokesperson said, adding the priority is to expedite the exploration process to the development stage.

The incentives provided by the ministry include corporate tax rates for domestic and international companies and ease of setting up 100 percent foreign-owned companies, the spokesperson added.