Ma’aden’s Gold and Base Metals SBU manages the production and sale of gold, copper, silver and zinc, with gold accounting for the biggest share segment. Gold enjoys a special status in the Ma’aden business mix. It is the most well-known of our product lines, with a history reaching back to the beginnings of recorded time: Our Mahad Ad Dhahab (‘cradle of gold’) mine was actively mined as early as 3000 years ago. Gold was the first commodity mined by Ma’aden and provided the foundation of our subsequent growth and diversification.
Ma’aden Gold and Base Metals Company (MGBM), our wholly owned subsidiary, is the backbone of our gold business, producing over 330,000 ounces of the precious metal in 2017. Gold accounts for the majority of MGBM’s revenue, with copper, silver and zinc accounting for the remainder. Ma’aden’s 2025 strategy aims to increase the company’s gold production to 1 million ounces per year.
Gold deposits are located throughout the Central Arabian Gold Region (CAGR), a geological area extending from the Red Sea coast to the middle of the country. Development of the CAGR has been challenging due to its remote location and limited water availability.
Ma’aden has opened up new mines by developing a 450 km pipeline to bring treated wastewater from the municipality of Taif to the site of the planned gold mines. This environmentally sustainable solution is the first instance of the large-scale use of treated waste water for industrial purposes in the Kingdom.
MGBM operates six gold mines (Ad Duwayhi, Mahd Ad Dhahab, Al Amar, Bulghah, Sukhaybarat and As Suq) and one copper mine (Jabal Sayid).
Mahd Ad Dahab Mine is located in Al Madinah Province in the western region of Saudi Arabia. It is one of the oldest mining sites in Saudi Arabia, with carbon dating of ancient slag indicating two separate periods of mining activity. The earliest was approximately 3,000 years ago whilst the later coincided with the expansion of Islamic culture during the reign of the Abbasid Caliphate (750 to 1258 AD).
Mahd resumed its commercial production in 1988 and is an underground mine with a total underground development in excess of 60 kilometers, extending to a depth of 300 meters. It comprises of an adit, by which men, material, ore and waste rock are transported. The mine has its own metallurgical processing plant on site to recover gold, silver, copper and zinc.
Bulghah mine is located in the Al Madinah Province, about 65 kilometers south of the Sukhaybarat metallurgical processing plant. It comprises an open pit mine, which mines lower grade ore (less than 1.0 gram per tonne of gold) for processing at the Bulghah heap leach processing facility. Higher-grade ore of more than (1.0) gram per tonne of gold is transported for processing at Sukhaybarat.
Bulghah was commissioned in October 2002. It is currently in a transitional phase as its high grade (oxidized) ore is depleted and future production will be increasingly dominated by lower grade transitional sulphide ores, which have lower metallurgical recoveries than those achieved historically from ores previously mined at this site.
Sukhaybarat is in Al Qassim Province about 250 km north of Mahd Ad Dahab. Sukhaybarat now comprises a carbon-in-leach (CIL) processing plant, which processes ore transported form Bulghah Mine, 75 km to the South, as well as raw material abstracted from Sukhaybarat. In 2003, Its mining operation ceased. However, it commenced again in 2004.
As Suq is the site of ancient workings located approximately 365 km north east of the city of Jeddah and about 20 km south-east of the Taif to Riyadh highway.
Ausenco has been awarded a contract to oversee construction of the open-pit mine and a Heap Leach (HL) and Adsorption Desorption Recovery (ADR) processing facility. Constructions completed in January 2014 and production commenced in March 2014.
Al-Hajar mine is located in Al-Aseer province, the southern region of Saudi Arabia, 710 km southeast of Riyadh. In 2006, Mining operations ceased following the depletion of the open pit's ore reserves. Currently, it focuses on exploring and extracting cooper and zinc and evaluates the financial model of the project.
Al-Amar project is in Riyadh Province approximately 195km southwest of Riyadh. It comprises an underground mine, which processes a gold rich polymetallic ore at a rate of 200 ktpa to produce gold in a mixture of copper and zinc rich concentrates, which is sold to third parties for toll smelting. It was completed in 2007 and Commercial production was achieved January 2008.
Ad'Duwayhi Gold Project is located approximately 450km southwest of Riyadh, 450 km northeast of Jeddah and 125 km southeast of the town of Zalim.
Our newly established joint venture, Ma’aden Barrick Copper Company (MBCC), has completed the construction and commissioning of its new copper mine in Jabal Sayid, enabling us to start selling copper concentrate in January 2016 as pre-commercial sales. Ma’aden and Barrick Gold Corporation established MBCC in 2014, with both partners each investing USD220 million to develop and construct the new copper mine at Jabal Sayid. The venture is an excellent strategic fit and value for Ma’aden’s position as a leading minerals enterprise, with the joint venture partners coming together sharing resources and technology to produce low-cost copper concentrate. Commissioning of the mine started in September 2015 and we began shipping copper concentrate to refineries in world markets in December 2015.
Exploration – Gold and Copper
Ma’aden relies on exploration works to determine and evaluate mineral resources and expand its works. Exploration works focus on gold and copper in the geographical union known as Arabian Shield, which is divided into three regions: the North-Arabian Shield, the gold territory in the center of KSA, and the South-Arabian Shield.
Mansourah project locates 460km north-east of Jeddah. It comprises of two sites that contain gold dioxide in the upper layers, under which there are metals gold-bearing sulphides.
Massarah project locates 67km away from eastern of Zilm province in Mecca Region. It comprises of two separate neighboring sites that contain gold dioxide in the upper layers, under which there are metals gold-bearing sulphides.
Al-Rajoum project locates in Mecca Region, about 20km southeast Al Muwayh province, on Taif – Riyadh highway, and 300km away from Jeddah. Exploration works are made in two independent and neighboring sites in Wasymah and Om-Al Naam.