Saudi Arabia plans to accept new mining license application

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Mining Region
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Khalid bin Saleh Al-Mudaifer, vice-minister for mining affairs and president of Saudi Geological Survey stated that Saudi Arabia plans to accept new applications for a mining license in December 2020.

He also indicated that the new mineral data of the Kingdom will be available for the public in the coming months.

Speaking at the Mines and Money 5@5 webinar entitled “The Regional Geological Survey Program, the foundation for a new Saudi mining sector”, Al-Mudaifer said that the Saudi mining sector was allocated for major local and global investment, as part of the Saudi Vision 2030.

Recently, the Saudi government announced a thorough revision of the Saudi Mining Investment Law, which provides the mining industry with a robust and transparent legal framework.

Khalid bin Saleh Al-Mudaifer
Khalid bin Saleh Al-Mudaifer
Saudi Geological Survey

“The Saudi mining strategy and the Kingdom’s National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP) aim to transform the mining sector into the Kingdom’s third pillar of the industry, effectively creating an industry that could compete globally and stand on equal footing with the Kingdom’s already established dominance in petroleum and petrochemicals”.

The vice-minister highlighted the ambitious Regional Geological Survey Program (RGP) of the Kingdom, as the integral step towards the growth of the Kingdom’s exploration and mining industry.

Al-Mudaifer further added, “The RGP’s data would be used to inform the Kingdom’s future mining policy decisions and our ongoing strategic plan for the sector. But the key purpose of the program is to stimulate new investment. That’s why we are committed to the transparent and timely sharing of data with the general public, government, academia, and investors including existing and potential new investors”.

He stated that this data would be accessible online via the NGD (National Geological Database) and anticipated that the initial batch of mineral data will be accessible within a few months.

Mr. Al-Mudaifer commented that the recent publishing of three registers related to the Kingdom’s mining industry is also equally important. “These registers are the license applications register, the issued licenses register, and the mining lots register”, he added.

He said that the main aim of these registries is to enhance transparency and provide relevant information to current and potential investors.

Sander Geophysics CEO, Stephan Sander has said RGP would help reduce the risks associated with investment decisions, as the surveys conducted would aid to describe areas which are rich in minerals.

The RGP intends to create a comprehensive dataset of the mineral resources of the Arabian Shield region, located in western Saudi Arabia, over the next six years. They intended to set up the database by using different methods such as airborne geophysical surveying, multi-element geochemical surveying and detailed geological mapping.

Simon Bosch, Managing Director of Xcalibur Airborne Geophysics told that the Saudi dataset was long-awaited in the mining industry and investors must be excited to have a greater awareness of the mineral landscape of the Kingdom.

Recently, Saudi Arabia had announced several measures to support the industrial and mining areas.