Saudi Arabia announces qualified bidders for second exploration licensing round, Umm Ad Damar

In line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which seeks to transform the mining sector into the third pillar of the national industries, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources (MIM) announced that 13 bidders have qualified for the second stage of the Umm Ad Damar exploration site licensing round, the second of its kind in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Umm Ad Damar is an early exploration site that is part of the mineral-rich Arabian Shield, and covers more than 40 square km. The Umm Ad Damar deposit which includes copper, zinc, gold, and silver, lies 300km north east of Jeddah and 25km northwest of Mahd Adh Dhahab town, on the Jeddah geological terrane in the Jabal Saiyd mineralized belt within the Mahad formation.

On July 17th, a diverse pool of highly experienced and competent candidates, both local and international, submitted qualification questionnaires with the aim of proceeding to the second stage of the licensing round.

The Ministry has qualified 13 bidders from this pool to the proposal stage: Abdul Rahman Saad AlRashid & Sons Co. (ARTAR), African Rainbow Minerals, Al Masane Al Kobra Mining Company (AMAK), Alara Saudi Ventures PTY LTD, Barrick Gold T 7 Limited, Consortium between Moxico Resources PLC and Ajlan & bros mining company, ERG Arabia LLC, Norin Mining Ltd, Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden), UDS Golden Group, Vedanta Limited, Yancoal Australia Ltd. and Yilmaden Holding.

Qualified bidders will receive an Information Memorandum, which sets out the requirements to follow when submitting their proposals for the site exploration license. Qualified bidders are given until the beginning of October 2022 to complete and submit their proposals.

Proposal submissions will be assessed based on a number of criteria, including technical, financial, environmental, and social management plans. Qualified bidders can now access the data room, which includes an Independent Technical Report and additional data such as the 3D model.

The qualified bidders will also be invited to a workshop which will be organized by the Ministry in August to learn more about the next stages of the licensing round process and visit the site in person, should they wish to do so. This shall be followed by a multi-round auction to select the preferred bidder.

Considering the emphasis Saudi Arabia is placing on environmental, social and governance (ESG) as it seeks to lead and transform the region’s mining sector, bidders will need to demonstrate how they will uphold these principles in terms of providing a social plan that demonstrates the bidders’ positive contribution and commitment to the surrounding communities.

The current Umm Ad Damar licensing round is a key milestone for the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources (MIM) and supports its objectives of enabling the growth of the mining industry in Saudi Arabia and diversifying the economy towards a sustainable future. The Kingdom’s second mineral tender for Umm ad Damar is a continuation of a successful and new chapter in the journey towards a robust Saudi Mining sector.