RIYADH: The number of mining licences issued by Saudi Arabia dropped by 50 percent in September with only 26 being issued compared to August’s 52.
The Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources announced the issuances in a report by the Ministry’s National Center for Industrial and Mining Information, Saudi Press Agency reported.
The breakdown of the mining licenses is as follows: 12 exploration licenses, ten building material quarries licenses, two surplus mineral ores licenses, a reconnaissance license, a mining exploitation license, as well as a small mine license.
As of September 2022, 2,143 licenses have so far been validated: 1,342 for quarry building materials, 561 for exploration, 173 for mining and small mining exploration, 36 for reconnaissance and 31 mineral ores licenses. On the other hand, up until September 2021, the ministry issued 1,795 mining licenses, Argaam reported citing the ministry’s report on its mining indicators.
With a total of 490 licenses, the Riyadh region recorded the largest number of the total mining licenses in force in the sector followed by Makkah Al-Mukarramah with 401 licenses, the eastern region with 359 licenses, the Medina region with 233 licenses, and the Asir region with 184 licenses.
The Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources aims to nurture the mining sector and maximize its value in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 as well as the National Industry Development and Logistics Program.
The ministry is working to transform the mining sector into the third pillar of national industry while utilizing the Kingdom’s mineral resources which are dispersed across 5,300 sites and hold an estimated value of SR5 trillion ($1.3 trillion).
Meanwhile, earlier this month, Saudi Arabia’s industry and minerals minister has hit out at the time taken to award mining licenses across the world as he discussed the Kingdom’s ambition to be a global leader in the field.
Speaking during the Saudi Green Initiative Forum held alongside the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh, Bandar Al-Khorayef said his government would keep feeding opportunities to companies who want to tap into the Kingdom’s estimated $1.3 trillion mining sector.
He said Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning mining industry could learn from the Kingdom’s oil, gas, and petrochemical sectors in terms of scaling up production.
Reflecting on the advantage the Kingdom has over other nations, he said: “Globally, the time it takes to have a mining license is just ridiculous. Saudi Arabia provides mining licenses in 90 to 180 days, but globally, it takes years of time.”