Saudi Arabia has discovered new sites of gold ore within the boundaries of Aba al-Raha, in the Madinah region. It found copper ore across four sites in the al-Madiq area in the same region. These discoveries are expected to attract local and international investors, and contribute to the kingdom's development of the national economy.
More Gold Deposits to be Discovered
The kingdom's Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources believes there are great potential for gold potentials in 12 mining reserve sites in Saudi Arabia. Umm Al Damar, an area of over 40 square kilometres, boasts copper, zinc, gold and silver deposits.
According to Asharq Al Awsat, a Saudi-owned newspaper, these sites are the focus of investments by a number of Saudi and foreign firms. It highlighted that 13 Saudi and foreign companies are vying within conglomerates to win a licence for the Umm Al Damar mining site located in Madinah.
Currently, underground gold reserves in Saudi Arabia are estimated to be 323.7 tonnes. The kingdom has six factories with total investments of over Saudi Riyal SR7 billion are producing gold and silver alloys. The Ministry of Industry has issued around 477 licences for prospecting for gold ore. Some companies have embarked on production, while others are still in the development process.
From Oil to Gold
Saudi Arabia, the largest exporter of petroleum in the world owing to its second-largest proven oil reserves and sixth-largest measured natural gas reserves, is now set to step into gold. The new discoveries are expected to be worth up to $533 million and potential to create 4,000 jobs.
Moreover, it can help grow the kingdom's mining sector in line with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Vision2030 which will steer Saudi Arabia towards a diversified, post-oil economy. Khalid Al-Mudaifer, the Saudi Industry and Mineral Resources Minister, had said in July that the country attracted more than $8 billion in foreign direct capital in its mining industry in 2021. As such, the kingdom is looking to attract $170 billion worth of investment in its mining sector by the end of the decade.
Saudi Arabia's annual production of copper and zinc concentrations, as well as phosphates is estimated at 68,000 tonnes and 24.6 million tonnes, respectively.