Saudi mining company Ma’aden announces 'significant' gold discovery

The new find extends along a 100km stretch from its existing Mansourah Massarah gold mine

The gold discovery is the first find from Ma'aden's exploration programme launched in 2022. Photo: Ma’aden
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Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma'aden), the biggest mining company in the Arab world, has announced the discovery of a “significant gold resource potential” in the kingdom.

The new discovery extends along a 100km stretch from the existing Mansourah Massarah gold mine, the company said on Thursday.

It is the “first find from the company’s extensive exploration programme, launched in 2022, aimed at building Ma’aden’s production pipeline”, it said.

“These discoveries are a significant demonstration of the untapped potential of mineral resources in Saudi Arabia, supporting the diversification of the country in line with Vision 2030 and establishing mining as the third pillar of the Saudi economy,” Robert Wilt, chief executive of Ma’aden, said.

“These have the potential to be the centre of the world’s next gold rush and are a strong part of our growth strategy.”

Mining is a key component of Saudi Arabia’s drive to attract foreign direct investment as laid out in the Vision 2030 plan, which aims to reduce the country's dependence on hydrocarbon revenue.

The kingdom, Opec’s top oil exporter, aims to more than triple the mining sector’s contribution to the nation’s economic output by 2030.

Ma'aden, which is majority-owned by the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, operates several extraction sites in the kingdom and is central to supporting the country's ambitions in the mining industry.

Under its new corporate strategy, Ma'aden aims to grow tenfold by 2040 and to move into strategic minerals to fuel the growth of downstream industries in Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s biggest economy.

The company this year teamed up with the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the PIF, to also pursue global mining investment opportunities.

The exploration around Mansourah Massarah is focused on identifying potential deposits of similar scale with similar geology, the company said.

Encouraging drill results from multiple sites on Uruq South, along a 100km stretch south of Mansourah Massarah, have uncovered similar geological characteristics and chemistry, it said.

Ma’aden said it continues the expansion of its exploration footprint at the Jabal Ghadarah and Bir Tawilah prospects 25km north of Mansourah Massarah.

“In combination, these positive drilling results have identified a potentially 125km strike with significant potential to become a major world-class gold belt in Saudi Arabia,” it said.

Mansourah Massarah had stated gold resources of almost seven million ounces at year-end 2023 and a nameplate production capacity of 250,000 ounces a year.

“As Saudi Arabia’s largest mining company, we are at the forefront of development for the sector in the kingdom and we will continue to support the growth and evolution of the sector,” Mr Wilt said.

Updated: December 28, 2023, 12:19 PM