Six international investors and two domestic companies have prequalified to participate in an auction for exploration rights for zinc and copper deposit. The prequalifying companies are Aditya Birla Group, Vedanta (both from India), Norinco (China), Ivanhoe Electric (US), Moxico Resources (UK), Alara Resources (Australia), and AMAK and Ma'aden Group (both from Saudi Arabia). The prequalified companies will submit proposals and whoever bids highest will win five years' exploration rights to the deposit, with the potential to expand this to 15 years and then gain a 30 years' renewable exploitation, or mining, contract. Details of the proposals should be announced at the auction at the end of July 2022 and the winner of the rights should be announced mid-August 2022. The winner will be chosen on the basis of criteria including technical and exploitation expertise, financial capability, work program and ESG plan including employment and local content provisions.
Client is expected to launch the first mineral licensing round for the project. The project would be tendered as an exploration licence, covering an area of 353.8 square kilometres, including Alara’s previous project licence area. The auction process will have three stages, starting with Registrations of Interest. This will be followed by a Qualification stage and, finally, Bidding and Grant.
A total of 24 prequalification bids were received from top local and international companies for the mining exploration license in Khnaiguiyah, as part of the ministry’s plan to tender exploration licenses and accelerate the mining exploration initiative. The ministry indicated that 50% of bidders are foreign firms. Qualified bidders will be announced by end of March 2022, and then the ministry will be receiving the qualified proposals, in preparation for the public auction.
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