Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia is investing more than $50 billion in its mining sector, the country's oil minister Ali al-Naimi said.
The Gulf state has granted over 1,700 mining licenses covering an area of 73,000 kilometers, Mr. Naimi said in a speech in Khartoum, Sudan, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
The Arab world possesses large deposits of various minerals, but investment in minerals and strategic metals in the region is still "in its infancy" due to lack of expertise, and infrastructure as well as price volatility, he added.
The Saudi cabinet approved earlier this year a plan to create an industrial zone for mining companies in the north in a bid to expand its mining sector and diversify its oil-dependent economy.
Zawya Dow Jones