Mining Minerals & Metals

Saudi Arabia's Mining Transformation and Global Impact

21 Sep, 2023 | Statistics

Saudi Arabia, a nation known for its oil wealth, is becoming a significant player in the global mining sector. The Kingdom is deliberately diversifying its economy by growing the mining industry. This nation is one of the most promising mining locations in the world with massive mineral resources estimated to be worth more than $1 trillion. The country actually holds up to 60 million ounces of gold in reserves.  

Mineral Wealth 

Saudi Arabia is actively investing in the mining industry as the nation is aware of the potential of its natural resources. Through a partnership between its sovereign wealth fund and the state mining corporation, Maaden, the Kingdom committed $2.6 billion to buy a 10% stake in Vale SA's base metals unit in August 2023. Saudi Arabia now has holdings in copper, nickel, and other industrial metal mines from Canada to Indonesia as a result of this geopolitical maneuver. 

Progress on domestic mining projects has been fairly slow, despite Saudi Arabia's ambition to use its mineral assets for economic diversification. The Kingdom has created a new organization that is run jointly by Maaden and its sovereign wealth fund to close this gap. The province of Riyadh alone has an astounding total of 610 active mining permits as of July 2023. In addition, a total of 71 mining permits were added by Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources. Across the Kingdom's regions, Makkah is home to the majority of the 76 mining complexes, while the Maaden Aluminum Project, one of the largest integrated aluminum complexes in the world that includes 25 mining complexes, is located in the Eastern Region. Asir has 34 mining complexes, while Madinah has 53. 

Economic Transformation 

Moreover, upcoming projects that are anticipated to strengthen Saudi Arabia's position in the global market are the talk of the country's mining sector. Some of the key projects are Al-Duwaihi Gold Mine which is undergoing expansion and is anticipated to reach an amazing production capacity of 1 million ounces per year by 2025 which is located in the Mahd adh Dhahab region. Mine for gold Al Amar, the Al Amar gold mine in the Riyadh region is also growing, and by 2025 it hopes to reach a capacity of 200,000 ounces per year. Mining firm Al Masane Al Kobra In the Najran Province, this business is constructing a copper and zinc mine with an annual production capacity of 50,000 tons of zinc concentrate and 700,000 tons of copper concentrate. Mine for copper in Jabal Sayid This copper mine, which is being expanded in the Al Madinah area, wants to produce 100,000 tons of copper concentrate per year by 2025. 

The potential of Saudi Arabia's mining industry has been identified by a number of well-known worldwide mining companies. In fact, Strategic alliances have been established between the Saudi Arabian mining business Maaden and international mining behemoths like Barrick Gold, Alcoa, and Mosaic. Freeport-McMoRan, The Jabal Sayid copper mine in the Al Madinah region is run by a joint venture between an American mining corporation, Freeport-McMoRan, and Saudi Arabian Mining corporation (Maaden). Rio Tinto, an Anglo-Australian mining giant, is willing to invest in Saudi Arabia's mining industry. 

Interestingly, The mining sector in Saudi Arabia is anticipated to create new job opportunities. Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources shows that, the industry might add more than 219,000 new employment by 2030. The metal industry alone accounts for up to 50.8% of all employment in the sector, thus the mining industry has already had a considerable impact on employment. 

The shift in Saudi Arabia from an oil-dependent economy to a mining centre with a wealth of minerals is gaining traction. The nation is expected to become a strong player in the global mining industry, providing opportunities for job seekers and industries.

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