Saudi Quest to Become a Nuclear Player Is Coming Up Short – by Jonathan Tirone (Bloomberg News – April 2023)

(Bloomberg) — Saudi Arabia’s efforts to break into the ranks of global uranium suppliers — and feed a nascent nuclear power program — are coming up short, with exploration investments failing to find any significant deposits of the heavy metal.

The amount worth developing is smaller than that found in Botswana, Tanzania or the US, according to an assessment published by the Nuclear Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency. This is the first time the Saudi government submitted data for the biennial Red Book, which is used by geologists prospecting for the commodity that fuels nuclear reactors.

Saudi Arabia has spent more than $37 million since 2017 searching for deposits but only managed to identify reserves that would be “severely uneconomic” to mine, the report said.

The nation, which wants to develop a substantial mining industry by 2030, still has a “huge program in exploration for uranium” that could turn up richer veins in the future, Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman said earlier this year.

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