Three Companies Remain in Contention for Massive Saudi Arabia Mining License

Three contenders remain in Saudi Arabia’s massive mining exploration license about 175 km west of Riyadh that contains about 25 million tonnes of zinc and copper at grades of 4.11% and 0.56% respectively. The kingdom received six proposals for the 350-km license and selected three consortiums out of those: a consortium between Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) and Ivanhoe Electric; a consortium between Alara Saudi Ventures and AlTasnim Enterprises; and a consortium between Moxico Resources and Ajlan & Bros Mining Company.

The third and final stage of the application process will kick off on Sept. 4.

Saudi Arabia sees mining sector crucial to diversify its oil powered economy and offers incentives including co-funding of up to 75% of capex through the Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF); a five-year royalty holiday for miners and a 30% reduction on royalty payments for further downstream production processing.

The government hosted its first ever Future Minerals Forum in January to present its mining potential and the urgency of finding more critical metals. lt passed a new minerals investment law last year and in the first ten months of 2021 the country provided 13 reconnaissance, 133 exploration and eight exploitation licences.

Mining companies operational in the country include Toronto-based Barrick Gold, which has a 50-50 joint venture copper operation in the Jabal Sayid mine, which came online in 2016, with Ma’aden.

Among the finalists for the license, Canada’s Ivanhoe Electric is focused on electric metals projects. Its two flagship projects are Santa Cruz, a copper project in Arizona, and Tintic, a copper, gold and silver project in Utah.

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