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Al-Khunayqiyah mining site’s exploration license to be awarded next week: Top official

JEDDAH: The exploration license for Saudi Arabia’s Al-Khunayqiyah mining site project which spans 353.8 sq. km. will be rewarded next week, a top official said. 

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Abdulrahman AlBelushi, head of the Mining Strategy Department at the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, said the multi-round auction for licensing will begin on Sept. 4 with three final bidders. 

“Next week, we will reach the final stage of the Al-Khunayqiyah licensing round, where we will start multi-round auctions on Sunday (Sept. 4) with three preferred bidders, which could go for multiple days until we have the successful bidder,” said AlBelushi. 

The ministry on Aug. 25 revealed that it received three final joint bids from the Kingdom’s Alara Ventures and the Tasnim Group Co.; the Saudi Arabian Mining Co. and Ivanhoe Electric Co.; and Mochico Resources and Ajlan & Bros. Mining Co. 

He further noted that exploration in the mining site will begin soon after the signing of the license agreement. 

The Al-Khunayqiyah mining project has four separate mineral bodies rich in copper and zinc. 

Talking about the Umm Ad Damar mining project where the second round of auction is progressing, he said: “It’s an exciting project for the Kingdom. This is an exciting project for the mining sector. This is our second licensing round. We have today some of the best and largest gold and copper producers, some of the most talented explorers from around the world.” 

AlBelushi added that Saudi Arabia has been conducting auctions in the mining sector in a very transparent manner, which is why international mining firms are interested in the Kingdom. 

“We focus on having the most transparent, the clearest process for the competition. We do it in three stages. The first stage is pre-qualification. The second is the (submission of) technical and social proposals. And the third is a fully public multi-round auction that will be streamed via YouTube to further testify for the Kingdom’s transparency and fairness,” he further noted. 

AlBelushi also added that the 138 sq. km. Muhaddad mine project will be launched for tendering by the fourth quarter of this year. 

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