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Arab News, Mon, Apr 08, 2024 | Ramadan 29, 1445

​​Saudi Arabia invites global firms to join mining exploration program

Saudi Arabia: The Saudi mineral sector is poised for expansion with the introduction of the Mining Exploration Enablement Program, inviting global firms and explorers to participate in the initiative.  

The Kingdom’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources and the Ministry of Investment have extended invitations to international companies in the sector to register for the scheme, according to a statement.  

The program aims to boost exploration activities, optimize the value extracted from the mining sector, and expand the Kingdom’s survey potential by focusing on uncharted territories. 

Additionally, it seeks to develop local talent, enhance skills and capabilities in the country's mineral exploration field, and advance geological knowledge by providing innovative data conforming to international standards, thereby fostering investment opportunities. 

This initiative aligns with Saudi Arabia’s efforts to enhance and develop the mining sector, aiming to transform it into the third pillar of national industries in line with the goals of Vision 2030. 

Furthermore, the Ministry of Industry clarified that participation in the project entails meeting several criteria, including a focus on exploring strategic minerals classified under Category A in the mining investment system. These minerals include copper, lithium, nickel, gold, and iron. 

Discovery efforts should also prioritize previously uncharted areas. It was noted that companies are required to obtain a valid exploration license within the first five years of the permit’s term, demonstrate a successful track record in exploring new sites, and actively engage local service providers to encourage investment and foster growth within the local supply chain. 

The Industry Ministry has set a deadline for interested investors to submit their applications from April 1 to May 31. The winners will be announced by the end of July 2024. 

In March, the ministry also launched an incentive package totaling close to SR685 million ($182 million) in financial facilitation. The governmental body inaugurated the scheme at the time with the aim of supporting mining discovery in the Kingdom. 

These initiatives, developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Investment, aim to reduce risks for exploration companies during their initial stages and foster funding in the sector, aligning with the goals of Vision 2030, as reported by the Saudi Press Agency at the time. 

Furthermore, the ministry highlighted that the comprehensive financial support package is projected to assist companies and investors interested in venturing into mineral resource exploration within the region. 

The Kingdom seeks to transform mining into a foundational industrial pillar, considering that Saudi Arabia’s mineral wealth is estimated at SR9.4 trillion.

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