JEDDAH: The Saudi Geological Survey has completed the pre-qualification phase to award the exploration license for Umm Ad Damar mining project and the winning bidder will be notified by the end of November, the CEO of SGS said on Tuesday.
Talking to Arab News on the sidelines of Umm Ad Damar Bidder’s Conference, Abdullah Al-Shamrani said the second round of the auction is underway and name of the successful consortium will be announced in the coming weeks.
“The project will go through different cycles, but by the end of November we will see the winning company,” said Al-Shamrani.
Umm Ad Damar which covers an estimated area of 40 sq. km. is located 300km northeast of Jeddah and 25km northwest of Mahd Al-Dahab governorate.
The site includes several mineral deposits including copper, zinc, gold and silver.
Initial indicators during the core excavation had suggested that copper values reached 3.7 percent, while zinc percentage touched 3.6 percent. The results of the samples also showed encouraging amounts of gold.
Al-Shamrani said that 13 companies have pre-qualified for bidding to get exploration licenses.
The Saudi Arabian Mining Co. or Ma’aden, AMAK, Ajlan & Bros. Mining Co. and Vedanta are among the qualified bidders in the pre-qualification stage, according to a SGC press release.
Elena Privalova, head of KSA operations for UDS Golden Group, which is also a qualified bidder, told Arab News that the firm’s interest in Saudi Arabia is part of its international expansion plans.
“We focus on gold mining in Russia, and we are looking for an extension of our international business. That is why we are here,” said Privalova.
She also added that Umm Ad Damar is very interesting from a geographical point of view, which demands more exploration.
Mining is a key element of Saudi Arabia’s economic development as it is steadily diversifying its economy, in line with Vision 2030.
Saudi Arabia expects its mineral wealth to exceed earlier estimates of $1.3 trillion, and to achieve this, the Kingdom is planning to triple the spending on the exploration of metals over the next three years.