November 19, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese-Saudi Standing Committee on Joint Exploitation of Natural Resources in the Red Sea will hold its 12th meeting in Jeddah on Tuesday to continue discussions on ways to utilize the mineral resources in the Red Sea rift valley, known as Atlantis II.
In February 2012, Khartoum and Riyadh signed an agreement on exploring minerals in the joint territorial water in the Red Sea. Atlantis II is dated back to 1970s, but was not implemented due to the lack of suitable exploration technologies at the time.
Minerals estimates show that there are 97 million tons of various minerals, which include two million tons of zinc, 500,000 tons of copper, 4,000 tons of silver and 80 tons of gold and other valuable minerals.
In a press statement on Saturday, the information office at the Ministry of Minerals said Sudan’s Minister of Minerals Mohamed Sadig al-Karori would lead a senior delegation to Saudi Arabia at the invitation of the Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Khalid Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Faleh to attend the Atlantis II meeting.
Al-Karori pointed the Sudanese-Saudi Standing Committee on Joint Exploitation of Natural Resources in the Red Sea meets every six months in rotation between Khartoum and Jeddah, saying the committee is the authorized body to grant licenses and follows up on technical and financial issues.
He stressed the two countries would benefit enormously from the Atlantis II, saying the value of the minerals wealth of the project amounts to $20 billion as of April 2016.
In 2010, the Canadian Diamond Fields International and Saudi Manafa International Ltd. were licensed by the Saudi Sudanese Committee to conduct exploration activities in Red Sea rift valley.
In a feasibility study conducted in 2012, Diamond Fields International expected that Saudi Arabia and Sudan will make big profits from the extraction of copper, silver and zinc from Red Sea bed. At the time, it expected to start production in 2014 once technical studies are completed.
Sudan and Saudi Arabia relations have recently improved after years of tension caused by Sudan-Iran connections. The development of bilateral relation was crowned by Sudan’s participation in the Saudi-led coalition against Houthi militants in Yemen and in the military exercises “Thunder of the North” in Saudi Arabia.