Saudi mines ministry opens next licencing stage for Khnaiguiyah exploration site

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources has announced the opening of the next steps associated with awarding the licence for an exploration site covering more than 350km2.

Interested prospective investors in Khnaiguiyah, the Kingdom’s largest exploration site, can now submit their expression of interest and complete their Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ), the Ministry said in a media release.

The announcement follows a first licencing round announcement which commenced during the recent Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh, where interested parties were invited to access the ministry’s data room with historical studies by visiting the Ministry’s online portal.

The award process will include three stages – qualification, proposal and auction, which could feature multiple rounds. The Ministry expects to conclude the award process in the second quarter of 2022.

Qualified bidders are invited to submit their completed PQQ by March 14, 2022. The PQQ requests that prospective bidders submit customary information regarding their technical knowledge and experience, capability, capacity, and organisational and financial standing, mapped to the project’s outlined criteria.

Located in Al Rayn Terrane, Khnaiguiyah forms part of the Arabian Shield – a geological structure which could possess a potential value of US$1.3 trillion across 48 commodities, according to the Saudi government.

Extensive exploration has already been carried out at Khnaiguiyah, with 100,000 metres drilled and a 3D geological model mapped. The Saudi Geological Survey has confirmed the site’s considerable geological potential of approximately 26 million tonnes of zinc and copper, both critical minerals for the global energy transition.