The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a large variety of metallic and non-metallic mineral resources that range in size and value from occurrences of limited potential to deposits large enough to sustain profitable exploitation. Most metallic minerals are located in Proterozoic rocks of the Arabian Shield exposed in the Western part of the Kingdom. Industrial minerals are also located in the Arabian Shield. But are more common in the Phanerozoic sedimentary rocks that flank the Shield in the eastern and northern parts of the Kingdom and underlie the Reel Sea coastal plain.
The aim of this publication is to present a summary of the distribution of mineral commodities of the Kingdom (excluding petroleum, natural gas, and sulfur) and to provide condensed descriptions of deposits and prominent prospects. The knowledge of these resources is based on an amount of drilling that would be considered as sparse in most countries with well-developed mineral industries. The total amount of core and percussion drilling undertaken in the Arabian Shield since 1954 is about 400,000 m in a comparable area of the Canadian Shield in Ontario. Canada, the annual average is about 300,000 m, excluding underground drilling and drilling on private lands. Thus, some prospects may have been insufficiently drilled by world standard and the mineral potential of the kingdom underestimated, particularly in the Arabian Shield.
The presentation is designed to enable the reader to assimilate the maim facts quickly and easily, and to this end figures and tables have been used freely. Three chapters concern commodities (Potasb, Uranium, and diamonds in Gemstones) for which no resources have yet been identified, but descriptions of past exploration and assessment of the potential for these commodities are considered appropriate to the purpose of this publication.
Where possible the contributors are geologists who were personally involved in the investigations described. Contributors are identified; their contributions were edited, and other parts of the publication were written by the compilers using the extensive database of the Saudi Arabian Directorate General of Mineral Resources and other sources acknowledged below.