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New Saudi Arabia mining project to increase non-oil GDP by three per cent

Saudi authorities estimate the kingdom holds 500mn tonnes of phosphate ore, around seven per cent of global proven reserves. (Image source: Shibang/Pixabay)

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia has inaugurated the Waad Al Shamaal mining project, which is expected to boost the kingdom?s gross domestic product by US$6.4bn and its non-oil GDP by around three per cent

The kingdom will invest US$22.6bn in the project, a 440 sq km city for mining industries in the northern region, the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources said in a statement.

The completion of the next phase will lift the kingdom?s phosphate fertiliser production to nine million tonnes annually, Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih said. ?This will make the kingdom the second largest producer of phosphate fertilisers in the world,? Al Falih added.

Mining is key to the kingdom?s efforts to diversify its economy away from hydrocarbons, as the government aims to more than triple the sector?s contribution to the nation?s economic output by 2030.

Saudi authorities estimate the region holds 500mn tonnes of phosphate ore, around seven per cent of global proven reserves, mainly in the Al Jalamid and Umm Wu?al areas between Arar and Turaif.

The energy ministry estimates the kingdom?s unused mineral resources to be valued at US$$1.33 trillion.

Al Falih added that he sees weak oil demand in January and said the kingdom will respond accordingly to ?cool the global market?s anxiety?.

His comments come one day after US President Donald Trump called on Saudi Arabia to help bring down oil prices. Al Falih said the kingdom?s policy has not changed and it will work towards a balanced market.