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Saudi Arabia in general is under-explored in respect to the solid minerals. There are a lot of untapped opportunities in the mining sector in KSA. The Arabian Shield within Saudi Arabia which spans over an area of 600,000 KM2 is a major source of precious and base minerals. To date over 48 minerals have been identified in the Kingdom with at least 15 minerals that are commercially viable.

In 2016, Deputy Ministry for Mineral Resources hired Watts, Griffis, and McOuat Limited (WGM) to conduct a comprehensive Mineral Potential Assessment of the Kingdom. In the report published by WGM, it shows that the potential for Saudi Arabia to produce metals is largely vested in the deposits that serve as sources for gold, copper, zinc, lead and silver. While potential exists in the longer term for other metals, this production will be inextricably tied to commodity markets and metal prices, and continuing exploration to fully define known resources and to discover new resurces.

The ministry has already identified 60 viable upstream opportunities in mining and many others are expected to be identified over the next few years. The detailed list of opportunities available for licensing can be found on the Ministry’s online licensing platform, Taadeen (link). The investor can also contact Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia (MISA) or the Deputy Ministry for Mineral Resource (DMMR) for more information on upstream opportunities.

KSA has large untapped mineral potential. As per the comprehensive Mineral Potential Assessment report release by Watts, Griffis, and McOuat Limited (WGM), KSA has rich reserves across many metals including gold, copper, zinc and lead among others. Some examples of reserves include

EMINERS Model for Gold in the KSA:

  • Confidence level: 50%
  • Total resources: 56,263,984 ounces
  • Gross in-situ value (US $): $69 billion

EMINERS Model for Copper Deposits in the KSA:

  • Confidence level: 50%
  • Total resources: 2,243,000 tons
  • Gross in-situ value (US $): $17 billion

EMINERS Model for Zinc Deposits in the KSA:

  • Confidence Level: 50%
  • Total resources: 4,383,900 tons
  • Gross in-situ value (US $): $0.9 billion

EMINERS Model for Lead Deposits in the KSA:

  • Confidence level: 50%
  • Total resources: 448,900 tons
  • Gross in-situ value (US $): $0.8 billion

EMINERS Model for Silver Deposits in the KSA:

  • Confidence Level: 50%
  • Total resources: 95,938,000 ounces
  • Gross in-situ value (US $): $2 billion

EMINERS Model for Nickel Deposits in the KSA:

  • Confidence level: 50%
  • Total resources: 108,000 tons
  • Gross in-situ value (US $): $1.6 billion

Saudi Geological Survey (SGS), an entity within Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources (MIM) is the principal organization for creating, maintaining and providing access to geological data geological data in the Kingdom. SGS is also the primary entity responsible for operating Saudi Arabia’s (link) The portal houses the Kingdom’s Geophysical, Geochemical and geological information. It is however important for investors to note that the Portal is still in development stages and the Kingdom’s legacy data is in the process of being populated on the Portal.

  • Geophysical information: The Kingdom has geophysical data available for most parts of the Arabian Shield. While only part of this data has been integrated into the Portal, the investors can obtain the full information by contacting SGS.
  • Geochemical Information The Kingdom has geochemical data e.g.(XRF / ICP-MS chemical assaying samples) available for the entire the Arabian Shield. While only part of this data has been integrated into the Portal, the investors can obtain the full information by contacting SGS.
  • Geological Maps: Maps at a scale 1:250,000 are available for most parts of the Kingdom. Investors can access this data on the Portal.
  • National Core Library (NCL):The Kingdom has the national repository of data on the locations of the drill holes and physical copies of over 250,000 drill hole samples. While SGS is the process of digitising these on the Portal, investors can request for samples for specific sites to be digitally available to them by contacting SGS.

NGD is a platform that provides investors access to geological information about the Kingdom’s mineral resources. Investors can access NGD at (link)It is however important for investors to note that many components of the NGD are still in development stage and are therefore in the process of integration. To therefore get access to geological information that may not be available on the NGD, the investor can send an email request to the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) via the NGD portal with details of the data required. Depending on the nature of the request, the time to response from SGS can vary from 1 to 3 days.

KSA has developed a new Mining Investment Law and regulations to regulate mining sector in KSA. Ministry of Industrial and Mineral Resources is the principal government entity responsible for ensuring adherence to the Mining Investment Law. The salient features of the Mining Investment law include licensing provisions, sustainability provision, financial provision and monitoring and inspection provisions. Investors can obtain a detailed copy of the law and regulations at (link).

Obtaining a mining license requires the investor to include an Environmental Impact Study which shall comply with:

  • Requirements stipulated in the Environmental Law.
  • The environment Impact study is required to be submitted to the National Center for Environmental Compliance (link)

    Additionally, the applicant for an exploration License or building materials quarry License shall submit the environmental impact management plan in accordance with the form prepared by the Ministry, provided that the plan includes:

    • Information on laws and regulations.
    • Applicant data.
    • Data of the requested license location.
    • Obligations under the Environmental Impact Management Plan.
    • The Executive Director is committed to the Environmental Impact Management Plan.

    For more information on this please read the new Mining Investment law (link) and regulations (link) and KSA’s environmental law. You may also contact the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources for further queries

    .

As per Saudi Arabia’s investor journey for setting up a legal entity:

  • Apply for Ministry of Investment license (non-Saudis)
  • Reserve a trade name for the Saudi company
  • Study of article of association (AOA)
  • Issuance of commercial registration (CR)
  • Register with the chamber of commerce
  • Open a labor office & GOSI file
  • Register with the Zakat, Tax, and Customs Authority
  • Apply for a municipality license
  • Open bank account for the company
  • Apply for mining license
  • Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia (MISA) is the primary entity which guides investors through the business set-up process. Investors are requested to contact MISA for further assistance on the above steps.

    The mining investment law stipulates for four key types of licenses Reconnaissance license: The Ministry shall issue a reconnaissance license for a period not exceeding two years for an area designated by the applicant. Said license may be extended or renewed for a single additional period not exceeding two years

    • Exploration license: Up to 15 years in total with maximum 5-year initial term plus one or more renewal period of not more than 5 years each. The Mining Law grants the holder of Exploration License the exclusive right to obtain a Utilization / Exploitation License for the relevant license site
    • Exploitation license: Maximum licensed area of 50 km2 for utilization and exploitation with duration limitation of 60 years (inclusive of renewals and/or extensions) and an initial term of up to 30 years, covers Class A and B minerals
    • Building Materials Quarry Licenses: over Class C construction materials only; issued for an initial period of not exceeding 10 year

    The Kingdom recognizes that timely adjudication of a license is essential to overall growth of the sector. Therefore, themining regulations of the Kingdom provide that Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources should adjudicate on anapplication for exploration license within 90 days of receipt of the license. For an exploitation license, the Ministry is required to adjudicate within a period of 60 days post approval of the Environment and Social Impact Study and the Rehabilitationand Closure Plan.

    Since the launch of the new mining law and regulations, the average lead time for approval of

    • An exploration license is 90 days
    • An exploitation license is 60 days

    Saudi Arabia has one of the lowest taxation regimes across the globe.

    A mining operator is liable to pay two key additional fees:

    1- End of service fees

    Every holder of an exploitation license is required to pay a severance fees to the Kingdom. The amount of severance fees payable differs based on the Class of mineral.

    • Class A metals : severance fees payable is calculated as a percentage of the net value of minerals upon extraction.
    • Class B minerals : severance fees payable is calculated on a per ton basis as a percentage of the Revenues which the holder derived from disposing of the mined Ore or Minerals.
    • Class C minerals : severance fees payable is calculated based on a specific amount per ton of ore produced.

    The Kingdom is committed to development of mining sector and hence provides various exemptions on severance fees:

  • 5 years holiday for the first five years of the License’s issuance date.
  • Reduction in severance fees by up to 30% for each downstream stage where such minerals are processed within the Kingdom before being exported.
  • Zakat payable is available as a deduction from severance fees (subject to various provisions).
  • 2- Surface rental fees

    Saudi Arabia provide very low prices for surface rent. It starts from (10 SAR/km2) for 3 years and increases based onthe duration of the rent.

    Saudi Arabia encourages mining investments by providing different kind of incentives to enable mining companies. Below are some of the incentives which KSA provide to investors:

    • Financing up to 75% of CAPEX with preference to advanced exploration and mining activities.
    • Severance fees exemption to miners for the first five years of license’s issuance date; additionally, royalty discounts of up to 30% can be availed for each stage of local downstream processing.
    • HRDF covers monthly salaries of up to 3050- % for Saudi employees (extra 10 % for females) for 3 years.
    • Customs duties are exempted on imported machinery, equipment, raw materials and spare parts if they are for industrial use.

    In addition to this, an investor may apply to the relevant authority for additional incentives which will be evaluated ona case by case basis. Please contact Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources for more information.

    Saudi Geological Survey provides specialized technical services and consultancy services to private sector companies including:

    • Specialized technical services related to the geological works and activities such as conducting geological, geochemical geophysical, hydrological and pre-feasibility studies.
    • Consultancy services such as assisting private sector in providing preliminary studies of various types and degrees in the field of mineral investment, providing data and information related.
    • Geophysical and geochemical labs to evaluate and assess different types of minerals.

    Besides geological studies, there are also many companies in KSA provide equipment and services needed in mining

    Ministry of investment of Saudi Arabia (MISA) together with Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources (MIM) maintains a database of different raw material suppliers. For more information on specific suppliers, please contact MISA / MIM.

    Saudi Arabia in general is under-explored in respect to the solid minerals. There are a lot of untapped opportunities in the mining sector in KSA. The Arabian Shield within Saudi Arabia which spans over an area of 600,000 KM2 is a major source of precious and base minerals. To date over 48 minerals have been identified in the Kingdom with at least 15 minerals that are commercially viable.

    In 2016, Deputy Ministry for Mineral Resources hired Watts, Griffis, and McOuat Limited (WGM) to conduct a comprehensive Mineral Potential Assessment of the Kingdom. In the report published by WGM, it shows that the potential for Saudi Arabia to produce metals is largely vested in the deposits that serve as sources for gold, copper, zinc, lead and silver. While potential exists in the longer term for other metals, this production will be inextricably tied to commodity markets and metal prices, and continuing exploration to fully define known resources and to discover new resurces.

    The ministry has already identified 60 viable upstream opportunities in mining and many others are expected to be identified over the next few years. The detailed list of opportunities available for licensing can be found on the Ministry’s online licensing platform, Taadeen (link). The investor can also contact Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia (MISA) or the Deputy Ministry for Mineral Resource (DMMR) for more information on upstream opportunities.

    KSA has large untapped mineral potential. As per the comprehensive Mineral Potential Assessment report release by Watts, Griffis, and McOuat Limited (WGM), KSA has rich reserves across many metals including gold, copper, zinc and lead among others. Some examples of reserves include

    EMINERS Model for Gold in the KSA:

    • Confidence level: 50%
    • Total resources: 56,263,984 ounces
    • Gross in-situ value (US $): $69 billion

    EMINERS Model for Copper Deposits in the KSA:

    • Confidence level: 50%
    • Total resources: 2,243,000 tons
    • Gross in-situ value (US $): $17 billion

    EMINERS Model for Zinc Deposits in the KSA:

    • Confidence Level: 50%
    • Total resources: 4,383,900 tons
    • Gross in-situ value (US $): $0.9 billion

    EMINERS Model for Lead Deposits in the KSA:

    • Confidence level: 50%
    • Total resources: 448,900 tons
    • Gross in-situ value (US $): $0.8 billion

    EMINERS Model for Silver Deposits in the KSA:

    • Confidence Level: 50%
    • Total resources: 95,938,000 ounces
    • Gross in-situ value (US $): $2 billion

    EMINERS Model for Nickel Deposits in the KSA:

    • Confidence level: 50%
    • Total resources: 108,000 tons
    • Gross in-situ value (US $): $1.6 billion

    Saudi Geological Survey (SGS), an entity within Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources (MIM) is the principal organization for creating, maintaining and providing access to geological data geological data in the Kingdom. SGS is also the primary entity responsible for operating Saudi Arabia’s (link) The portal houses the Kingdom’s Geophysical, Geochemical and geological information. It is however important for investors to note that the Portal is still in development stages and the Kingdom’s legacy data is in the process of being populated on the Portal.

    • Geophysical information: The Kingdom has geophysical data available for most parts of the Arabian Shield. While only part of this data has been integrated into the Portal, the investors can obtain the full information by contacting SGS.
    • Geochemical Information The Kingdom has geochemical data e.g.(XRF / ICP-MS chemical assaying samples) available for the entire the Arabian Shield. While only part of this data has been integrated into the Portal, the investors can obtain the full information by contacting SGS.
    • Geological Maps: Maps at a scale 1:250,000 are available for most parts of the Kingdom. Investors can access this data on the Portal.
    • National Core Library (NCL):The Kingdom has the national repository of data on the locations of the drill holes and physical copies of over 250,000 drill hole samples. While SGS is the process of digitising these on the Portal, investors can request for samples for specific sites to be digitally available to them by contacting SGS.

    NGD is a platform that provides investors access to geological information about the Kingdom’s mineral resources. Investors can access NGD at (link)It is however important for investors to note that many components of the NGD are still in development stage and are therefore in the process of integration. To therefore get access to geological information that may not be available on the NGD, the investor can send an email request to the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) via the NGD portal with details of the data required. Depending on the nature of the request, the time to response from SGS can vary from 1 to 3 days.

    KSA has developed a new Mining Investment Law and regulations to regulate mining sector in KSA. Ministry of Industrial and Mineral Resources is the principal government entity responsible for ensuring adherence to the Mining Investment Law. The salient features of the Mining Investment law include licensing provisions, sustainability provision, financial provision and monitoring and inspection provisions. Investors can obtain a detailed copy of the law and regulations at (link).

    Obtaining a mining license requires the investor to include an Environmental Impact Study which shall comply with:

    • Requirements stipulated in the Environmental Law.
    • The environment Impact study is required to be submitted to the National Center for Environmental Compliance (link)

      Additionally, the applicant for an exploration License or building materials quarry License shall submit the environmental impact management plan in accordance with the form prepared by the Ministry, provided that the plan includes:

      • Information on laws and regulations.
      • Applicant data.
      • Data of the requested license location.
      • Obligations under the Environmental Impact Management Plan.
      • The Executive Director is committed to the Environmental Impact Management Plan.

      For more information on this please read the new Mining Investment law (link) and regulations (link) and KSA’s environmental law. You may also contact the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources for further queries

      .

    As per Saudi Arabia’s investor journey for setting up a legal entity:

  • Apply for Ministry of Investment license (non-Saudis)
  • Reserve a trade name for the Saudi company
  • Study of article of association (AOA)
  • Issuance of commercial registration (CR)
  • Register with the chamber of commerce
  • Open a labor office & GOSI file
  • Register with the Zakat, Tax, and Customs Authority
  • Apply for a municipality license
  • Open bank account for the company
  • Apply for mining license
  • Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia (MISA) is the primary entity which guides investors through the business set-up process. Investors are requested to contact MISA for further assistance on the above steps.

    The mining investment law stipulates for four key types of licenses Reconnaissance license: The Ministry shall issue a reconnaissance license for a period not exceeding two years for an area designated by the applicant. Said license may be extended or renewed for a single additional period not exceeding two years

    • Exploration license: Up to 15 years in total with maximum 5-year initial term plus one or more renewal period of not more than 5 years each. The Mining Law grants the holder of Exploration License the exclusive right to obtain a Utilization / Exploitation License for the relevant license site
    • Exploitation license: Maximum licensed area of 50 km2 for utilization and exploitation with duration limitation of 60 years (inclusive of renewals and/or extensions) and an initial term of up to 30 years, covers Class A and B minerals
    • Building Materials Quarry Licenses: over Class C construction materials only; issued for an initial period of not exceeding 10 year

    The Kingdom recognizes that timely adjudication of a license is essential to overall growth of the sector. Therefore, themining regulations of the Kingdom provide that Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources should adjudicate on anapplication for exploration license within 90 days of receipt of the license. For an exploitation license, the Ministry is required to adjudicate within a period of 60 days post approval of the Environment and Social Impact Study and the Rehabilitationand Closure Plan.

    Since the launch of the new mining law and regulations, the average lead time for approval of

    • An exploration license is 90 days
    • An exploitation license is 60 days

    Saudi Arabia has one of the lowest taxation regimes across the globe.

    A mining operator is liable to pay two key additional fees:

    1- End of service fees

    Every holder of an exploitation license is required to pay a severance fees to the Kingdom. The amount of severance fees payable differs based on the Class of mineral.

    • Class A metals: severance fees payable is calculated as a percentage of the net value of minerals upon extraction.
    • Class B minerals: severance fees payable is calculated on a per ton basis as a percentage of the Revenues which the holder derived from disposing of the mined Ore or Minerals.
    • Class C minerals: severance fees payable is calculated based on a specific amount per ton of ore produced.

    The Kingdom is committed to development of mining sector and hence provides various exemptions on severance fees:

  • 5 years holiday for the first five years of the License’s issuance date.
  • Reduction in severance fees by up to 30% for each downstream stage where such minerals are processed within the Kingdom before being exported.
  • Zakat payable is available as a deduction from severance fees (subject to various provisions).
  • 2- Surface rental fees

    Saudi Arabia provide very low prices for surface rent. It starts from (10 SAR/km2) for 3 years and increases based onthe duration of the rent.

    Saudi Arabia encourages mining investments by providing different kind of incentives to enable mining companies. Below are some of the incentives which KSA provide to investors:

    • Financing up to 75% of CAPEX with preference to advanced exploration and mining activities.
    • Severance fees exemption to miners for the first five years of license’s issuance date; additionally, royalty discounts of up to 30% can be availed for each stage of local downstream processing.
    • HRDF covers monthly salaries of up to 3050- % for Saudi employees (extra 10 % for females) for 3 years.
    • Customs duties are exempted on imported machinery, equipment, raw materials and spare parts if they are for industrial use.

    In addition to this, an investor may apply to the relevant authority for additional incentives which will be evaluated ona case by case basis. Please contact Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources for more information.

    Saudi Geological Survey provides specialized technical services and consultancy services to private sector companies including:

    • Specialized technical services related to the geological works and activities such as conducting geological, geochemical geophysical, hydrological and pre-feasibility studies.
    • Consultancy services such as assisting private sector in providing preliminary studies of various types and degrees in the field of mineral investment, providing data and information related.
    • Geophysical and geochemical labs to evaluate and assess different types of minerals.

    Besides geological studies, there are also many companies in KSA provide equipment and services needed in mining

    Ministry of investment of Saudi Arabia (MISA) together with Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources (MIM) maintains a database of different raw material suppliers. For more information on specific suppliers, please contact MISA / MIM.