Saudi industrial sector investments amounted to SR1.73 trillion ($460.3 billion) in August, up 0.17 percent compared to the previous month, official data showed.
The total number of existing factories reached 10,707, an increase of 0.21 percent within a month, according to the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources’ monthly bulletin.
The number of workers in the industrial sector reached about 1.054 million workers, while the number of mining licenses in force in the sector at the end of August reached 2,159.
These included 1,367 quarrying licenses for building materials, 558 exploration licenses, 168 exploitation licenses, in addition to 37 exploration licenses and 29 licenses for surplus mineral ores.
As many as 646 new industrial licenses were issued by the ministry from January 2022 until the end of August, with investments of SR18 billion.
About 811 factories started production operations during the same period with investments amounting to SR22.4 billion, while the industrial sector provided during the same period more than 35,000 job opportunities.
During August, 115 new licenses were issued, with investments amounting to SR4.1 billion, bringing the number of workers to 3,272 employees.
The food products industry acquired the largest number of new licenses in August with 21 licenses, followed by the chemicals and chemical products industry with 14 licenses.
Formed metal products, excluding machinery and equipment, followed with 13 licenses, followed by the furniture industry, and the rubber and plastics products industry with 10 licenses each.
Capital Riyadh acquired 41 new licenses in August, followed by the Eastern Province with 26, Makkah with 22, and Al Madinah with 8 licenses.
Qassim followed with seven licenses, Asir with four, then Tabuk and Hail with three licenses each, while Jizan region obtained one license.
The number of factories that started production last August reached 68 factories with investments estimated at SR2.4 billion, and the number of workers reached 2,587.
The Minister of Industry and Mining Resources Bandar Al-Korayef told Reuters on Friday that Saudi Arabia considers a new mining index in a diversification push.
“The idea is to help the sector grow faster. We definitely see a need for small and medium firms in the sector to access capital through capital markets,” he said.
Al-Khorayef is at the International Mining and Resources Conference in Sydney this week to drum up investment interest.
The minister already announced on Wednesday at the same conference that the Kingdom plans to award over a dozen mining exploration licenses to international investors as it looks to enter the mining sector in a big way to diversify away from hydrocarbons.
Five new exploration sites are up for licensing and the Kingdom will release details of an additional 10 opportunities next year, the minister said in a speech.
More than 145 licenses have been issued so far and the country has seen a 27 percent year-on-year growth in its mining revenue, the minister said.
“We have an ambitious strategy to attract investments worth $32 billion to the mining and mineral sector. So this is only the beginning,” he added.