Saudi targets $66bn mining programme

November 2017

Saudi Arabia has issued mining licences worth $66 billion to major private sector players in the kingdom, said the kingdom’s energy minister.

“The number of licences granted by the ministry to the private sector is approximately 2,000 covering about 70,000 sq km area,” remarked Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Falih.

Al Falih was speaking at a meeting with the Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergey Donskoy in Moscow.

Donskoy said this agreement will contribute to the development of co-operation between the two countries in the field of mining investments and geological knowledge, exchange of benefits, investment opportunities and technology transfer.

According to a recent US economic study, Saudi Arabia’s mining sector is fast expanding, as the third pillar of the  country’s economy, at a projected rate of nine per cent thus providing a growing opportunity for US companies.

Ongoing mining projects in the kingdom for minerals such as bauxite, copper, gold, iron, lead, silver, tin, zinc and a number of non-metallic minerals are estimated at nearly $16 billion.

Significant changes in Saudi Arabia’s mining law has created the conditions to allow greater access for foreign companies looking to invest in the country’s mining sector, stated the US economic report.

The new laws allow for companies to work either with Saudi Arabia’s parastatal Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) or through joint ventures with local companies, it added.

Later in the evening Al Faleh signed a joint roadmap for co-operation of the Saudi-Russian Joint Governmental Committee with the Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak on the sidelines of their meeting, which was attended by officials from Aramco, Ministry of Energy, and a number of Russian energy companies and their services.

The two ministers agreed to expand the fields of oil and gas co-operation to include all renewable energy sources such as solar and nuclear energy through the localization of industries, attracting investments and exchanging experiences in the interest of the Kingdom, contributing to the development of local industry and reducing their costs using expertise.

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