Eight local and international companies have qualified to obtain a metal detection licence at the Khnaiguiyah site in the Riyadh region, the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources announced in a statement.
The ministry said the companies are: Saudi Alara Ventures, Saudi Arabian Mining (Maaden), Major Mining Factories (AMAC), Vedanta Limited, Essel Mining and Industry Limited, Ivanhoe Electric, Noreen Mining and Moxico Resources.
They will be invited to participate in the second stage of the competition process, which is the stage of submitting bids.
Khnaiguiyah is the largest exploration site in the kingdom and contains an estimated 25 million tonnes of zinc and copper, both critical minerals for the global energy transition.
Saudi Arabia has been marketing Khnaiguiyah at the local and international levels in line with the kingdom's Vision 2030, which identified mining as the third pillar of industrial growth.
Located in Al Rayn Terrane, Khnaiguiyah covers more than 350 square kilometres and forms part of the Arabian Shield, which has a potential value of $1.3 trillion across 48 commodities.