Sana’a hosts Arab mineral wealth conferenceMany investment opportunities in minerals production & export [Archives:2003/675/Business & Economy]

October 9 2003

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
Yemen will be hosting on 13-16 this month the Eighth Arab Conference on Mineral Wealth and the exhibition. It is scheduled that the conference would discuss 104 working papers related to minerals and oil. Taking part in the conference are delegations headed by some Arab oil and minerals ministers, oil undersecretaries and heads of mineral institutions.
Concerned oil authorities have prepared a group of investment opportunities available in Yemen in the sector of minerals and facilities to be granted to companies and investors in order to be presented to the conferees of the mineral wealth eighth conference.
Surveys recently conducted in Yemen have revealed the existence of huge mineral ores encouraging for investment he besides oil and gas. Such metals are mainly gold, copper, iron and zinc.
Preliminary surveys have disclosed that with regard to gold there about 16 million tons in the Hariqa area as well as a possible reserve of 40 million tons, and in the Al-Faidh area to the north of Sa'ada it is estimated at 5-10 million tons. The surveys estimate the volume of zinc, lead and silver ores reserve in the area of Mareb at 9 million and 400 thousand tons.
Yemen geological structure contains volcanic alluvial formations rich of metal and metalloid rocks and minerals, and oil and gas. All of them constitute an economic formation for investment and economic exploitation. The surveys also confirm that the areas situated on the coasts of the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea have black sands containing a proportion of metals used in industry like ferric oxide, heavy silica and granite. Some areas have been discovered containing very thick layers of salt at various regions such as the Salif, peninsula in Hudeidah, Shabwa, Mareb, Baihan and Safir where production is now estimated at around 175 tons a year.
Also according to surveys, Yemen possesses a large variety of stones for construction and ornament, among them 25 sites for limestone whose annual average production amounts to 358186 tons. In addition, there are 30 types of precious stones, many kinds of pulverized stone used for producing lime and limestone used in cement industry.
There are also in Yemen metals such as silicate feldspar and igneous rocks in the form of large crystals free from gangues used in thermal, medicinal, glass, plastic, paints, rubber, soap and ceramic industries. Yemen's reserve of feldspar is estimated at millions of tons. It mainly exists in the areas of Wadi Bawhal, in Hajja, Taiz, Baidha, Ahwer, and Wadi Masila but it is not exploited despite of its existence near the main roads and exporting ports.
Preliminary results herald of the availability of many opportunities for investment in mineral wealth in Yemen. These opportunities are in need of more studies and waiting for expatriates' capitals, local and foreign private sector for investing in them.