A worker at a gold mine. For illustrative purpose. Image Credit: Bloomberg file

Cairo: Recent discoveries unveiled by Saudi Arabia have shed light on thriving prospects for gold mining in the kingdom amid an inflow of local and foreign investments.

Last week, Saudi Arabia announced the discovery of new sites for gold and copper ore deposits in the Madinah region in the western part of the kingdom.

Thirteen Saudi and foreign companies are vying within conglomerates, to win a licence for the Umm Al Damar mining site located in Madinah, according to the Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq Al Awsat.

Umm Al Damar, stretching on an area of over 40 square kilometres, boasts copper, zinc, gold and silver deposits.

There are great potentials for gold deposits in 12 mining reserve sites in Saudi Arabia, according to reports of the kingdom’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources.

These sites are currently the focus of investments by a number of Saudi and foreign firms, Asharq Al Awsat said.

Underground gold reserves in Saudi Arabia are estimated at 323.7 tonnes.

Six factories with total investments of over SR7 billion are producing gold and silver alloys in the kingdom.

The Ministry of Industry has issued nearly 477 licences for prospecting for gold ore, with some embarking on production while others are still in the development process, the paper said.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s annual production of copper and zinc concentrates as well as phosphates is estimated at 68,000 tonnes and 24.6 million tonnes respectively.

Around 5.2 million tonnes of phosphate fertilisers are produced annually in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom stands out among the world’s top producers of phosphate fertilisers.

The latest discoveries are set to support the Saudi Vision 2030, an ambitious scheme designed to diversify the kingdom’s oil-reliant economy.

The kingdom aims to increase revenues from the mining sector to reach SR240 billion by 2030.