Saudi Maaden to double gold production
Al Khobar, May 10, 2011
State-controlled minerals firm Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) plans to more than double its gold production to 400,000 ounces per year by 2015, an executive told Reuters on Tuesday.
Maaden's current gold production is around 140,000-150,000 ounces per year, Hany Al-Dabbagh, the company's vice president of precious metals and exploration, told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of a Meed conference.
Lack of water resources is one of the main challenges crippling the exploration of gold projects.
"We have a number of new gold projects at an advanced stage and will build a 450 km long water pipeline from Taif to the mine site in the Central Arabian Gold Region," he said.
"Gold is there but we don't have water. Water is as precious as gold," said Al-Dabbagh.
To get around the problem, the firm managed to secure 10,000 cu m per day of recycled waste water from the city of Taif into central Saudi Arabia, where a number of gold mines have been identified, he added.
"initially they include Ad Douwaihi, Massara, Mansoura, Ar Rjum. These four mines will be served by the water facility with the potential for more," said Al-Dabbagh.
"Other projects such as As Suq are also in development although are not served by the water pipeline."
"As long as our buyers are buying gold, we are in good business," said Al-Dabbagh. - Reuters