Saudi Arabia to start solar project soon

Investment in mining estimated at $120 billion

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Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih said Saudi Arabia will very soon have power from renewable energy, adding that this week, and for the first time, a project for solar power was signed at a competitive value to provide 300 megawatts of solar power.

He said, “This is part of the National Transformation Program and it will be followed by other projects for wind power to make Saudi Arabia a leader in renewable energy like it is the case in petroleum, gas and petroleum industry. The Kingdom hopes to be a leader in research too for the best use of its natural resources.”

Answering a Saudi Gazette question about the chances of geological tourism offered for investors he noted that tourism is one of the main sectors in the Saudi Vision 2030. He added, “There is a need to diversify the sector. We have been distinguished for Islamic tourism but we have the natural sites and the geological tourism. After the development of this sector, visitors will be able to stay longer because of more options that’ll be available.”

Al-Falih was speaking to reporters after the inauguration of the 12th International Geological Conference here. He noted that the conference is a chance to meet a great number of specialists and youth, who are exploring and investing in different sectors of earth sciences.

He added, that there are more opportunities in the Kingdom to invest in power sectors or renewable power, mining and national resources. Opportunities, he said, are there to build and develop industries that can provide 100,000 job opportunities for Saudis of both genders and this includes production, manufacturing, and exportation.

In his speech, the minister said that the mineral resources in the Kingdom are estimated at a value of $1.3 trillion. He added that there is a plan to increase the production to ten times the current status. The Kingdom is expected to be among the ten biggest producers of uranium and third world producer of phosphide cement.

There will be a comprehensive regional geological survey project, which will be implemented over the coming five years, and all discoveries recorded in the survey will be put in a national database. The spending on discoveries, he said, will be increased from SR90 per square kilometer to SR570 per square kilometer in 2030. He highlighted that the private sector and junior miners are encouraged to invest and explore the opportunities in the sector.

The investment in the mining and mainstream industry is estimated at $120 billion, said Al-Falih. Meanwhile, he noted that Waad Al-Shamaal produces 300 million cubic feet of gas a day.


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