Ma’aden Building 250,000- oz/y Gold Project

The Saudi Arabian Mining Co. (Ma’aden) is proceeding with construction of its Mansourah & Massarah gold project in the Central Arabian gold region. The project includes two open-pit mines and a central processing plant. At average production of 250,000 ounces per year (oz/y), the project will be Ma’aden’s largest gold project and will lift the company closer to its goal of becoming a 1-million-oz/y gold producer by 2025.

Ma’aden produced 415,000 oz of gold in 2018. Total investment to build the Mansourah & Massarah project is expected to reach 3.3 billion riyals ($880 million). The plant will be capable of processing up to 4 million metric tons per year (mt/y) of the complex refractory ores contained in the deposits, the first time such ores have been mined and processed in the Middle East. At year-end 2017, the Mansourah deposit had 12.4 million mt of proven reserves at a grade of 2.49 grams/mt gold and 15.3 million mt of probable reserves at a grade of 2.57 g/mt, while Massarah had 3.1 million mt of proven reserves at a grade of 2.08 g/mt and 14.2 million mt of probable reserves at a grade of 1.97 g/mt.

Ma’aden has awarded a contract for development of the Mansourah & Massarah project to a consortium of Outotec and Larsen & Toubro. Larsen & Toubro is an engineering and construction firm headquartered in Mumbai, India. The Mansourah & Massarah project will be the first in Saudi Arabia to utilize solar power as an energy source. It will also benefit from treated wastewater piped through a 430-kilometer (km) pipeline from the municipality of Al Ta’if to the remote and water-scarce region where the project is located.

Ma’aden plans to spend 295 million riyals ($67 million) on new exploration concessions in 2019, marking a threefold increase in its investment commitment on previous years. It has also launched an “Accelerated Exploration Program” to shorten the time needed to move new discoveries into development.

Regarding Outotec’s participation in the Mansourah & Massarah project, Outotec CEO Markku Teräsvasara said, “We are extremely pleased with this significant order and continued cooperation with Ma’aden, which is growing to be a global mining company. Our previous deliveries have included grinding, flotation, and filtering technologies, as well as alumina calcination technology and three sulphuric acid plants. Our proven technologies and services enable them to get the best value from their resources and build sustainable operations.”

As featured in Womp 2019 Vol 06 -