Saturday, October 7, 2017

Saudi Arabia issues 2,000 mining licences worth $66bn

Saudi Arabia has issued a mining licences worth $66 billion to major private sector players in the kingdom, said the kingdom's energy minister.

"The number of licences granted by the ministry to the private sector is approximately 2,000 covering about 70,000 sq km area," remarked Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Falih.

Al Falih was speaking at a meeting with the Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergey Donskoy in Moscow.

Donskoy said this agreement will contribute to the development of co-operation between the two countries in the field of mining investments and geological knowledge, exchange of benefits, investment opportunities and technology transfer.

According to a recent US economic study, Saudi Arabia's mining sector is fast expanding, as the third pillar of the the country's economy, at a projected rate of nine per cent thus providing a growing opportunity for US companies.

Ongoing mining projects in the kingdom for minerals such as bauxite, copper, gold, iron, lead, silver, tin, zinc and a number of non-metallic minerals are estimated at nearly $16 billion.

Significant changes in Saudi Arabia’s mining law has created the conditions to allow greater access for foreign companies looking to invest in the country's mining sector, stated the US economic report.

The new laws allow for companies to work either with Saudi’s parastatal Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) or through joint ventures with local companies, it added.

Later in the evening Al Faleh signed a joint roadmap for co-operation of the Saudi-Russian Joint Governmental Committee with the Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak on the sidelines of their meeting, which was attended by officials from Aramco, Ministry of Energy, and a number of Russian energy companies and their services.
The two ministers agreed to expand the fields of oil and gas co-operation to include all renewable energy sources such as solar and nuclear energy through the localization of industries, attracting investments and exchanging experiences in the interest of the Kingdom, contributing to the development of local industry and reducing their costs using expertise.

A MoU was also signed between the Geological Survey of Saudi Arabia and the Russian Geological Corporation aiming to developing cooperation between the two countries in the scientific and geological field on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, said senior Saudi officials.

The pact includes geological prospecting and resource assessment, geophysical exploration of minerals and groundwater, the application of groundwater modeling, marine geology, geological, mineral and environmental studies, asymmetrical applications of geosciences and geographic information systems, remarked Dr Zuhair bin Abdulhafiz Nawab, the chairman of the Saudi Geological Survey after signing the deal with Ruslan Goring, senior deputy to the General Supervisor of the Russian Geological Institute Holding.

The two sides agreed on the formation of committees to draw up the roadmap for implementation of the agreement and follow up the implementation of its terms, as well as to consider possible future cooperation opportunities between the Kingdom and Russia, he added.-TradeArabia News Service

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