In a groundbreaking announcement on Thursday, Saudi Arabia unveiled the discovery of extensive potential gold resources along a 100-kilometer stretch to the south of its existing Mansourah Massarah gold mine in Al Khurmah governorate, Makkah region.
The Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) disclosed the findings, signifying a significant opportunity to expand gold mining operations in the region. As part of its extensive exploration program launched in 2022, the mining giant aims to establish a metal production line.
Exciting drill results from multiple sites on Uruq South, spanning the 100-kilometer stretch south of Mansourah Massarah, have revealed geological characteristics and chemistry akin to the Mansourah Massarah deposit. Samples from random drilling sites, located 400 meters from and under Mansourah Massarah, indicated the presence of high-grade gold deposits at 10.4 grams per ton (g/t) and 20.6 g/t. This suggests a high density of gold in the tested ore from these locations. In response to these promising results, Maaden is planning an aggressive escalation of drilling activities in 2024 around Mansourah Massarah.
Maaden has actively expanded its exploration footprint in the Jabal al-Ghadara and Bir al-Tawila prospects, situated 25 km north of Mansourah Massarah. The company is in the process of transferring inferred resources totaling 1.5 million ounces for measurement. These positive drilling outcomes, combined with the ones from Jabal Ghadarah and Bir Tawilah, suggest a potential 125-km strike with the significant prospect of becoming a major world-class gold belt in Saudi Arabia.
Recent drilling results around Mansourah Massarah indicate that the resource is open both at depth and along the strike. This presents a substantial opportunity to expand resources at the mine and potentially extend the mine life through underground development. At year-end 2023, Mansourah Massarah reported gold resources of nearly seven million ounces and a nameplate production capacity of 250,000 ounces per year.
Maaden’s CEO, Robert Wilt, emphasized the potential of these discoveries to spearhead the world’s next gold rush and play a pivotal role in their growth strategy. He highlighted that these findings underscore the untapped potential of mineral resources in Saudi Arabia, aligning with Vision 2030 and establishing mining as the third pillar of the Saudi economy.
With 67 percent ownership by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, Maaden stands as the largest miner in the Gulf. In January 2023, it announced Manara Minerals, a joint venture with PIF, aimed at investing in mining assets abroad.
It’s worth noting that Mansourah Massarah is the newest, largest, and most technologically advanced gold mine in Saudi Arabia, producing 11,982.84 ounces of gold in 2022. The mine, featuring Mansourah Massarah resources, is being developed as a conventional open-pit mine. Utilizing carbon-in-Leach and pressure oxidation processes and autoclave technologies for ore gold production, the mine boasts cutting-edge mining, processing, and environmental sustainability technologies.