RIYADH — Saudi Arabia announced on Thursday the discovery of large potential gold resources along a 100km stretch south of its existing Mansourah Massarah gold mine in Al Khurmah governorate in the Makkah region.
Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) said that it had discovered multiple gold deposits, indicating the potential to expand gold mining in the area. The mining giant said in a statement that this is the first discovery under the company’s extensive exploration program launched in 2022 and it aims to build a metal production line.
Encouraging drill results from multiple sites on Uruq South, along a 100km stretch south of Mansourah Massarah, have uncovered similar geological characteristics and chemistry to the Mansourah Massarah deposit. Samples taken indicated the presence of high grade gold deposits of 10.4 grams per ton (g/t) gold and 20.6 g/t gold in two random drilling sites 400 meters from and under Mansourah Massarah, meaning a high density of gold was found in the ore tested from those locations. In light of these results, Maaden planned an aggressive escalation of planned drilling activities in 2024 around Mansourah Massarah.
Maaden has continued to expand its exploration footprint in the Jabal al-Ghadara and Bir al-Tawila prospects, 25 km north of Mansourah Massarah, where the company is transferring inferred resources amounting to 1.5 million ounces for measurement. Maaden has continued the expansion of its exploration footprint at the Jabal Ghadarah and Bir Tawilah, prospects 25km north of Mansourah Massarah. In combination, these positive drilling results have identified a potential 125 km strike with significant potential to become a major world-class gold belt in Saudi Arabia.
The near-mine drilling results around Mansourah Massarah indicate that the resource is open both at depth and along the strike, offering significant potential to expand resources at the mine and, potentially, extend the mine life with underground development. Mansourah Massarah had stated gold resources of almost seven million ounces at year-end 2023 and a nameplate production capacity of 250,000 ounces a year.
Robert Wilt, CEO of Maaden, said that these discoveries have the potential to be the center of the world’s next gold rush and are a strong part of our growth strategy. “These discoveries are a significant demonstration of the untapped potential of mineral resources in Saudi Arabia, supporting the diversification of the country in line with Vision 2030 and establishing mining as the third pillar of the Saudi economy,” he pointed out.
Maaden is 67 percent owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, and the largest miner in the Gulf. In January 2023, it announced Manara Minerals, a joint venture with PIF, to invest in mining assets abroad.
It is noteworthy that Mansourah Massarah is the newest, largest, and most technologically advanced gold mine in Saudi Arabia. It produced 11,982.84 ounce of gold in 2022.
The mine consists of the Mansourah Massarah resources, which are being developed as conventional open-pit mines. The plant employs Carbon-In-Leach and Pressure Oxidation Processes and autoclave technologies for ore gold production. This mine is equipped with cutting-edge mining, processing, and environmental sustainability technologies.