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Saudi to auction five mining exploration licences in 2023

Stock photo of a copper mine. Saudi reported $8bn of foreign direct investment in mining last year Reuters
Stock photo of a copper mine. Saudi reported $8bn of foreign direct investment in mining last year

Saudi Arabia is set to auction five new mining exploration licences next year, state news agency SPA has reported, citing Bandar bin Ibrahim AlKhorayef, the minister of industry and mineral resources.

The licences, aimed at international and local investors, will include copper, zinc, lead and iron deposits and will be auctioned for sites in Bir Umq, Jabal Idsas, Umm Hadid, Jabal Sahabiyah and Ar Ridaniyah.

The licences will be awarded under a new Mining Investment Law, which aims to accelerate foreign investment in the sector.

The announcement comes as part of the kingdom’s efforts to increase mining exploration as it looks to leverage an estimated $1.3 trillion worth of underexplored metals and minerals in support of sustainable development goals and the clean energy transition.

Since the launch of the Vision 2030 strategy in 2016, Saudi Arabia has attracted its highest levels of mining investment. In 2021, the country reported $8 billion in foreign direct investment to the sector and issued 145 licenses.

It is currently targeting new investments worth $32 billion in mining and metals production across nine different projects.

The ministry awarded the Canadian-Saudi consortium of Barrick and Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) exploration license on Saturday for the Umm Ad Damar exploration license.

Last month, a consortium of Moxico Resources and Ajlan & Bros Mining Co. was awarded licenses for Khnaighuiyah mines, where zinc and copper deposits are estimated at around 26 million tonnes.