This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 11/5/2018

Overview

The Saudi mining sector is expanding at a projected rate of nine percent and provides a growing opportunity for U.S. companies.  To put it in a geological context, the Arabian Shield is equivalent in size to the Canadian Shield, roughly one-third the size of Saudi Arabia.  Its landscape consists mainly of outcrops, wherein rocks are exposed near the surface.

Significant recent changes in Saudi Arabia’s mining law have created the conditions to allow greater access for foreign companies looking to invest in the Kingdom’s mining sector.  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.  Also, there exist sizable domestic, regional and neighboring markets in the Middle East and Asia for high grade, industrial raw materials from Saudi Arabia.

Saudi's Vision 2030 aims at increasing the mining sector's economic contribution to USD 26 billion (SAR 97 billion), 18,000 times more than 2015 revenues of USD 140 million (SAR 520 million).  

 

Phosphate

Ma’aden has established an operational facility in Ras AlKhair Port.  Ma'aden's Phosphate runs Jalamid site, on the north of the Kingdom.  It contains phosphate mine and plant that produces about 11.6 million tons of the raw materials that is transferred through railway to Ras AlKhair.

There is a large project to produce phosphate in Wa’ad Al-Shamal city’s project, located in the far north of Saudi Arabia, about 20 kilometers from Tareef. Ma’aden has founded “Wa’ad Al-Shamal’s Phosphate” in partnership with Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) and Mosaic (the largest fertilizer producer in the world).

Ma’aden phosphate operations consist of Ma’aden Phosphate Company (MPC) and the newly-built Ma’aden Wa’ad Al Shamal Phosphate Company (MWSPC) with a combined production capacity of over two million tons of ammonia and six million tons of phosphate fertilizers.

 

Aluminum

Ma’aden also has founded Ma’aden’s Aluminum Project, which is a partnership with Alcoa, Ma’aden’s Aluminum, Ma’aden Bauxite and Alumina and Ma’aden Rolling Mill.  It is one of the most integrated and effective aluminum projects in the world. It contains a bauxite mine and a refinery in addition to one of the most advanced rolling mill plants in the world.  The Al Ba'itha Bauxite Mine, an affiliate of Ma’aden’s Bauxite and Aluminum, and the ore crushing, and handling facility are located 600 kilometers northwest of Ras AlKhair. The production capacities of these facilities are estimated at a rate of 4.0 million metric tons  of bauxite, which is transferred by railway to Ras AlKhair.
 

Gold

The Mahd Ad Dahab mine produces the lion’s share of the country’s gold. Ma’aden produced 332,231 ounces of gold in 2017, an increase of 47 percent over 2016.  Its largest gold mine, Ad Duwayhi, completed its first full year of commercial production, leading to a significant increase in gold output.  Ma’aden operates six gold mines located in different regions of the Kingdom.
 

Copper

Ma’aden Barrick Copper Company is a 50-50 joint venture between Ma’aden and Barrick Middle East. In 2017, it produced 1,632,958 tons of copper in concentrate, 22 percent above target.  In addition, Ma’aden extracts around 4,000 tons of zinc and 280,000 ounces of silver from the mines each year.

In October 2016, the Ma’aden board approved a new vision and 2025 strategy to build excellence, strengthen its role as the national mining champion, and pursue global growth on a strong foundation of sustainability and capability building.

The National Transformational Plan (NTP) set robust goals for the mining sector, increasing mining’s contribution to the Saudi economy by half by 2020, to USD 26 billion per year, and adding 25,000 new jobs to the sector.

 

 

2016 (tons)

2017 (tons)

Local Production (Aluminum, Alumina, Ammonium Phosphate fertilizer, Ammonia, Gold, Industrial Chemicals)

1,682

5,919

Total Exports (Aluminum, Alumina, Ammonium Phosphate fertilizer, Ammonia, Gold, Industrial Chemicals)

425

1,271

Exchange Rate: 1USD

3.75 Saudi Riyal

3.75 Saudi Riyal


Leading Sub-Sectors

Ma’aden’s 2025 strategy spells out a clear growth path for phosphate fertilizers, taking into consideration Ma’aden’s potential to achieve its planned growth in line with global supply and demand.

Feasibility studies are underway to build a third large-scale phosphate fertilizer project, which will add three million tons of capacity, positioning Ma’aden among the top three producers and exporters in the world.

Feasibility studies are underway for gold mining in two locations. Ma’aden plans to invest further in exploring for gold and base metals as part of 2025 strategy.

Saudi Arabia requires mineral processing technology, equipment, and proven expertise to develop mineral-based manufacturing. The Saudi mining industry needs consulting engineering companies, drilling and chemical testing, and related equipment manufacturers/suppliers. Industrial minerals targeted for mining include:

  • Feldspar and feldspathic sand

  • High purity quartz that has potential for further upgrading to produce fused quartz

  • Cultured quartz, silicon and polysilicon

  • White mineral fillers such as talc, silica, wollastonite, and magnesite

  • Limestone, with upgrading to produce ground calcium carbonate (GCC) and products such as lime, hydrated lime, and dolime

  • Basalt, with upgrading to products such as basalt fiber, composite materials, and tiles; and Bentonite
     

Opportunities

Ongoing mining projects in the Kingdom for minerals such as bauxite, phosphate, copper, gold, iron, lead, silver, tin, zinc and several non-metallic minerals are estimated at nearly USD 16 billion.

Development of mineral wealth is creating significant infrastructure demands, including the building of the 1,300 kilometers North-South Railway Project, estimated at USD 3-4 billion, linking the mining and processing in areas such as the Al-Jawf phosphate mine, via Al-Zabirah, to Riyadh, then to Jubail.  Each area is generating major infrastructure projects in support of mining activity which is providing opportunities for U.S. companies in the power, transport, communications and construction sectors.

 

Web Resources

Ministry of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources: http://www.meim.gov.sa/arabic/Pages/default.aspx
Saudi Arabian Mining Company: http://www.maaden.com.sa/en

 

For more information, contact the following Commercial Specialists:

Anwar Shaqhan, U.S. Consulate General Jeddah, Email: anwar.shaqhan@trade.gov, Tel: +966-12-667-0080, Ext 4259
Mohammed Shujauddin, U.S. Consulate General Dhahran, Email: mohammed.shujauddin@trade.gov, Tel: +966-13-330-3200, Ext 3137

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Saudi Arabia Mining Equipment and Machinery Trade Development and Promotion