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Gem of a find: KSA may have diamond mines

Besides oil and gold deposits the blessed land of Saudi Arabia may also have a treasure trove of diamonds

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Besides oil and gold deposits the blessed land of Saudi Arabia may also have a treasure trove of diamonds.

According to President of the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) Dr. Zuhair Nawab, diamonds are likely to be found in the volcanic, lava fields and stony areas as well as in ancient sedimentary rocks in the Kingdom, because of the presence of stones such as Olive Aquamarine, Alberob Stone, Garnet and Chrome. These minerals indicate the presence of diamonds, he said.

However, he said that it needs more geological studies.

In an interview with the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Dr. Nawab said that work is underway to discover diamonds in the Kingdom.

He added that the mining investment regulation legalized by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources stipulates that all deposits of natural minerals located in the Kingdom will be of the property of the State.

The precious gems specialist and advisor at the SGS, Engineer Mosbah Al-Arnaout, confirmed that the sites of precious gems in the Kingdom need to be studied in detail and an in-depth analysis should be carried out to know about mining sites of these stones that will have significant economic returns estimated at billions of dollars.

Globally, approximately 130,000,000 carats (26,000 kg) of diamonds are mined annually, with a total value of nearly U.S.$9 billion, and about 100,000 kg (220,000 lb) are synthesized annually. Roughly 49% of diamonds originate from Central and Southern Africa, although significant sources of the mineral have been discovered in Canada, India, Russia, Brazil, and Australia.

Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) operates four gold mines and one processing plant – Mahd Ad Dahab, Bulghah, Al-Hajar Al Amar and Sukhaybarat, respectively, and is the Kingdom‘s sole gold producer.

The Al Amar mine produced the most in 2012 at 52,531 ounces, and also accounted for the largest share, at 39 percent, in terms of gold sold for the same period.

In late 2012, four exploration licenses were granted to Turkish-Saudi joint venture KEFI Minerals: Selib North, Hikyrin, Hikyrin South and Jibal Qutman.

KEFI Minerals, at 40 percent share in its joint venture with Saudi construction and investment group (ARTAR), anticipates to discover and develop over 1 million ounces of gold deposits in the ANS.

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette on April 2, 2014