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Saudi mineral wealth could exceed $ 1.3 trillion under Kingdom’s aggressive exploration plan

RIYAD: Saudi Arabia expects its mineral wealth to exceed previous estimates by $ 1.3 trillion as the Kingdom plans to triple its metal exploration spending over the next three years, the Kingdom said. head of the organization responsible for assessing its geological potential.

Saudi Geological Survey CEO Abdullah bin Muftar Al-Shamrani said the pre-estimate was made a few years ago when mineral prices were lower.

“Now that we have seen the price increase, it is expected that the forecast for […] the prices will really go up because of this demand for these materials, ”he said in an exclusive interview with Arab News.

The goal now is to nearly triple exploration spending per square meter to SR220 ($ 58.7) over the next two to three years.

The increased spending “will speed up mining goals” and help uncover more locations. Al-Shamrani said the Kingdom was getting “aggressive” when it came to exploration.

He added that the number of mining sites in the Kingdom could exceed 5,500.

Support a greener future

The Kingdom wants to be part of the global supply chain of raw materials that will go into many viable products to support industries such as renewable energy, he said.

He is now determined to develop all these resources with the help of international investors who will need more data. The organization known as SGS has developed a huge database for this purpose.

Asked about the main minerals Saudi Arabia possessed, the CEO said, “We are talking about cobalt, lithium, titanium, rare earths, all of these will make the future more sustainable if used efficiently. The future speaks of renewable energy and the good thing [..] it is that Saudi Arabia has these minerals. He said they are crucial in the global transition to cleaner sources of energy.

Other strategic minerals include copper, zinc and Saudi silica, the latter being one of the most concentrated in the world. However, it is not just the minerals related to renewable energies that are in abundance in the Kingdom.

“When we talk about minerals in Saudi Arabia, we are talking about about 48 minerals. Some of them are very critical for global needs, ”he said. Certain minerals, such as phosphate – which is used for fertilizers – are important for achieving goals such as food security.

He confirmed the Kingdom’s “very good potential” for specific traditional minerals, notably gold and silver.

Sudden change

When asked why the mining sector seemed to take a back seat in previous years, Al-Shamrani replied that exploration spending over the past decade was not enough to focus on investment potential. in the area.

“But when Vision 2030 indicated that the mining sector should be the third pillar of the country’s industry, a fair amount – around SR 3.8 billion – was pumped into the mining sector.” The purpose of the spending, he said, was to invest in the sector to uncover opportunities across the country.

The CEO hopes attendees at next week’s Future Minerals Forum will agree on three points. The first of these is to determine the demand for minerals in the next 10 to 30 years.

The second is to see how these needs will be met. The third is to make sure people are better informed about sustainability and efficiency.

Saudi Arabia is trying to attract a mix of local and international investors in mining opportunities. Al-Shamrani assured international investors that the sector will follow internationally recognized ESG guidelines.

He said certain conditions are being placed on the mining sector as the Kingdom pursues its goal of reducing its carbon footprint and becoming carbon neutral by 2060.

“We understand the challenges facing the mining sector,” Al-Shamrani said.

Saudi Arabia is imposing certain conditions on the mining sector in pursuit of its 2060 vision of reducing its carbon footprint. (Provided)

FMF 2022

Riyadh will host its first future minerals forum this week which will attract key industry players and ministers from many countries.

The CEO had three things in mind that he hopes will be accepted by the attendees of the Future Minerals Forum.

The first of these is to find out the mineral needs in the next 10 to 30 years. Second, it should be clarified how these needs would be met. The last thing is to make sure that people are better informed about sustainability and efficiency.


Saudi Arabia is trying to attract a mix of local and international investors in mining opportunities. Al-Shamrani assured international investors that the sector will follow ESG guidelines.

Serving society

“We are teeming with minerals that will serve humanity around the world and in Saudi Arabia,” Al-Shamrani said.
One advantage of the mining industry is that it is not concentrated in cities, and with more projects in remote areas, it can help limit rural-to-urban migration across the Kingdom.
He cited examples such as Waad Al Shamal, Mahd Al Dahab (Cradle of Gold) and Jabal Sayid; all were practically empty before, but were developed later.


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