SYDNEY, Nov 2 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia plans to award more than a dozen mining exploration licenses to international investors as it seeks to enter the mining sector in a big way to diversify away from the hydrocarbons, Mines Minister Bandar Al-Khorayef said on Wednesday.
Five new exploration sites are awaiting licensing and the kingdom will publish details of 10 more opportunities next year, the minister said in a speech at the International Conference on Mines and Resources in Sydney.
“Strategically located in the heart of the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe, with the will and infrastructure and strong domestic demand for minerals and metals, Saudi Arabia can be a contributor major contributor to the growth of the mining sector,” Al-Khorayef said. says miners and energy industry executives and experts.
Riyadh’s efforts to build an economy not dependent on oil include a shift towards mining, with the exploration of untapped reserves of resources ranging from copper to phosphate and gold.
More than 145 licenses have been issued so far and the country has seen a 27% year-on-year growth in mining revenue, the minister said.
“We have an ambitious strategy to attract $32 billion worth of investment in the mining and mining sector, so this is just the start,” he added.
The Saudi government estimates its idle mineral resources at $1.33 trillion, with large amounts of aluminum, phosphate, gold, copper and uranium, Al-Khorayef said.
The Saudi Ministry of Mines announced last week that it would launch the bidding process for the Bir Umq, Jabal Idsas, Umm Hadid, Jabal Sahabiyah and Ar Ridaniyah permits.
Al-Khorayef said the kingdom plans to move beyond exploration and extraction towards processing and manufacturing.
“Supported by our growing supply of renewable energy at competitive prices, our ambition is to become a leading green metal refining and processing centre,” he said, adding that the country plans to invest to build a strong value chain for the rapidly growing electric vehicle sector. .
Reporting by Praveen Menon; edited by Stephen Coates and Richard Pullin
Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.