Exploring Minerals, Quarries to Boost Investment Attractiveness in Saudi Arabia

Wednesday, 23 October, 2019 - 11:45
Asharq Al-Awsat

The US-Saudi Arabian Business Council (USSABC) revealed that the mining sector in the Kingdom has become attractive with a stimulating investment environment.

It said the mining activity is growing at a compound annual rate of 4.7 percent as a percentage of mining and quarries amid a government effort to encourage the exploration of minerals and quarries.

“The mining sector’s contribution in 2018 amounted to 1.4 percent of mining and quarrying,” Economist at USSABC Albara'a al-Wazir told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Mining activity, as a proportion of mining and quarrying, grew at a compound annual growth rate of 4.7 percent during the period between 2010 and 2018,” he added.

According to Wazir, exporting basic metals was ranked third in terms of the value of Saudi exports in 2018.

He indicated that these exports grew from 5.6 percent of total non-oil exports in 2010 to 8.7 percent in 2018.

“The Saudi mining sector has been undergoing comprehensive changes that will push it forward to represent the third pillar of the Kingdom's economy.”

“The current development of the sector will certainly benefit both the government and the private sectors,’ he noted.

Wazir also stressed that the mineral resources enjoyed by the Kingdom provide the country with many opportunities to occupy a global decent position in this field in line with the Vision’s ambitions.

The USSABC has recently issued a report of which Asharq Al-Awsat has obtained a copy.

The report shows major growth in investments in the mining sector, noting that the sector follows in its significance the oil, gas, and petrochemical sectors.

The mining sector is undergoing significant investments as the government aims to boost the sector’s contribution to GDP, provide numerous employment opportunities, enhance localization competencies and become among the leading countries in mining exploration and extraction capabilities, the report explained.

The Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) is the lead developer for mining projects across the Kingdom, it said.

According to the report, the Kingdom is endowed with significant mineral deposits that are widespread across many types, ranging from gold to lightweight aggregate.

“In terms of precious metals, Saudi Arabia produced approximately 10,850 kilograms of gold and 5,322 kilograms of silver in 2018.”

Gold production grew by an impressive compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.7 percent between 2010 and 2018.

As for base metals, copper and zinc, production witnessed significant increases between 2010 and 2018.

Copper production grew at a CAGR of 60 percent while zinc production grew at a CAGR of 23.5 percent.

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