Mineral deposits in Saudi Arabia include a variety of deposits which were formed in many geologic environments. These include magmatic and late magmatic deposits in igneous masses, contact metamorphic deposits along the margins of igneous bodies, and stratiform sulfide deposits and veins. Notable deposits of sedimentary origin include deposits of iron oxides and phosphate.
Strata-bound massive sulfide deposits containing copper, zinc, and nickel sulfides associated with pyrite and pyrrhotite in complexly deformed volcanic rocks in Saudi Arabia have been the subject of controversy. They are considered by some geologists to be of syngenetic or volcanogenic origin, and by others to be epigenetic.
The principal mineral deposits in western Saudi Arabia are localized in mineral belts within tectonic zones that trend northerly, northeasterly, and northwesterly. These belts contain the exploration target areas most promising for future exploration. Noteworthy among these are: 1) the northerly-trending Bidah copper-zinc belt; 2) the Sayid copper-zinc zone; 3) the northwest-trending Nuqrah copper zinc-silver belt; and 4) the north-northwesterly-trending Al Amar belt. Gold and silver deposits are mainly localized in north-trending structural features of the Hijaz geotectonic cycle and northwest Najd trends.
Saudi Arabian metal deposits known thus far contain reserves in the 2 billion dollar range. Further exploration should result in discoveries that could significantly increase this amount; Saudi Arabia may well have workable metallic and nonmetallic mineral resources for industrial developments in many parts of the Kingdom.
In order to effectively carry on a search for new mineral deposits, the belts should be mapped in detail, with emphasis on the delineation of stratigraphic and structural features that control metallization. In addition, geochemical and geophysical studies should be made of promising areas to outline exploration targets. These targets could then be systematically explored.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Mineral deposits in western Saudi Arabia; a preliminary report
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Geological Survey,
60 leaves, 1 sheet :ill., maps (some col.) ;28 cm.