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  • Saudi Arabia is More than an Oil Depository

  • October 21, 2006
  • Saif Mohammed

    When most people think of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, they think of deserts and vast oil fields.  Of course, this is true, but the Saudi government has been focusing lately on another sector as well – mining.

    Recently, Saudi Arabia has been investing billions in a variety of mining projects.  There is a phosphate concentrate in the north that is simply waiting to be harnessed.  Two North American companies have already completed preliminary work for a future plant.

    To demonstrate how serious they are about their new interest in minerals, the Saudi government has approved the establishment of a new economic city a few dozen kilometers away that will serve the solid mineral sector.

    At the new centre there will be a di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) plant in addition to an aluminum smelter.  Both of these will be capable of processing well over half-a-million tons per year.  There will be a large power station, an ammonia plant, alumina refinery and several facilities producing varying acids (for example, sulfuric and phosphoric).  There will also be a new port to serve the city.

    The government also plans to establish an extensive railway network to bring in raw phosphate and bauxite from distant mines.  Many hope that these new developments will diversify the Saudi economy, and by the looks of it, they most certainly will. 

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