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Saudi Arabia Expands Mineral Exploration With 377 Mining Complexes

Saudi Arabia’s mining sector is witnessing unprecedented growth as the government is pushing to develop the industry with increased investment and upgraded laws to attract more private players.  

This saw the number of mining complexes in the Kingdom as of the end of 2022 rising to 377, with an estimated area of 44,365 sq. km, according to the latest government data.

Makkah is home to the majority of 76 mining complexes last year.  

This is followed by Riyadh and Madinah with 60 and 53 complexes respectively, while Asir’s complexes totaled 34, revealed the ministry.  

Saudi Arabia possesses more than 20 different types of minerals, including gravel, gold, iron, copper, granite and marble, stated the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources in a tweet.

The Kingdom has 35 locations with specific geological formations, called mineral belts, that contain abundant mineral deposits 

As of 2022, these belts represent 14 percent of the Kingdom’s size and cover 305,000 sq. km.  The ministry added that the mineral deposits of these belts are around 75 percent of the Kingdom’s total mineral deposits, which have a projected value of SR5 trillion ($1.3 trillion).  

Around 94 percent of the mineral belts are located in the Arabian Shield, which spans over 622,00 sq. km.  

The belts are spread over the country’s administrative regions, also led by Makkah which contains nine belts, revealed the ministry data. 

The remaining 26 belts are located around the Kingdom — seven in Asir, six in Riyadh, five in Tabuk, four in Madinah, two in Baha, and one each in Qassim and Najran.

Most of the mineral belts contain gold and sulfides, where the former has 16 and the latter 15.  In addition, there are three belts for nickel and one belt for zinc.

The Ministry upgraded its mining investment law in 2020 to develop the mining sector and designed a long-term integrated mining system aimed at protecting both employees and the environment. 

The government expects such improvements to spill over to adjacent sectors by way of providing jobs and boosting local spending in Saudi Arabia.

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