Royal Road Minerals and MSB Holdings have been designated as the preferred bidders for the Jabal Sahabiyah exploration licence in Saudi Arabia.

The licence will be granted to their joint venture (JV), Royal Road Arabia, subject to fulfilling certain conditions, including a financial guarantee and legal and regulatory requirements.

Royal Road Minerals president and CEO Dr Tim Coughlin said: “We are grateful to the MIMR [Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources] for granting us this opportunity at Jabal Sahabiyah and we are eager to get started.

“Over 40 years have lapsed since exploration work was conducted at the prospect area and ore deposit studies, surface and subsurface exploration techniques have advanced significantly over that period.

“We will be deploying our own drone-borne hyper-spectral scanner, gamma-ray spectrometer and magnetometer and expect to have teams on the ground, mapping and sampling at Jabal Sahabiyah imminently.”

The exploration licence, which will initially span five years with options to renew for up to 15 years, represents a significant commitment from the JV.

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By GlobalData

Royal Road Arabia has pledged a minimum expenditure of $5.5m (SR20.63m) over the first five years, with the investment contingent on the success of the exploration activities and the maintenance of the performance guarantee.

Situated in Asir Province, the Jabal Sahabiyah licence covers an area of approximately 284km².

The prospect was identified through regional mapping conducted by Riofinex in the late 1970s and is located within the Nabitah-Tathlith belt.

The area is known for its copper-zinc-lead mineralised gossans and vein-gold occurrences, which are hosted in greenschist and amphibolite facies meta-sedimentary and granitoid rocks.

Historical drilling by Riofinex revealed promising results including a drillhole identified as JM4, which yielded 14m at 0.6% copper and 5.1% zinc from the surface.

Another drillhole, JM3, showed 6.5m at 0.9% copper and 0.6% zinc, also starting from the surface.

These findings underscore the potential mineral wealth of the Jabal Sahabiyah area and the opportunity it presents for Royal Road Arabia.

MSB Holdings Group CEO and Royal Road Arabia chairman Tareq Telmesani said: “This is a fantastic moment for Royal Road Arabia, and we are excited to begin exploration at Jabal Sahabiyah.

“Our team have been working hard to bring this opportunity to fruition, and we are grateful to the MIMR for their recognition of our capabilities and expertise. Saudi Arabia’s vision for the mining sector is world-leading, and it is an honour for our organisation to be at the forefront of mineral exploration at this exciting time.”