Saudi Arabia’s plans to diversify its economy away from oil gained additional imputes with the announcement that the country’s mining sector is set to triple by 2030.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Petroleum & Mineral Resources, Ali Al-Naimi, made this proclamation at the opening session of the Saudi Mining & Minerals Exhibition & Symposium in Riyadh, reported Trade Arabia.

Mining’s contribution to GDP is expected to reach $69.32 b in 15 years, he added.

“The ministry is aiming to raise the GDP even higher by 2030, and create more than 100,000 jobs for citizens,” he said.

Al-Naimi said that the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources was developing a long-term plan for the kingdom’s mining sector, said the statement.

It was at this exhibition, revealed the Saudi Gazette, that the possibility of slashing energy subsidies was also made.

The Saudi Geological Survey president Dr. Zohair A Nawab, also at the exhibition, said that the kingdom plans to complete viability studies into 50 new mineral opportunities next year as part of a development strategy for the sector.

“In 2016, studies will be made for confirmed reserves of more than 50 minerals in order to know their quantities and possible uses in industry,” Nawab said.

These will complement studies already completed about opportunities in phosphates, bauxite, copper, zinc, precious metals, silicon and limestone.

More than 2,000 delegates and visitors are expected at the exhibition with 50 exhibitors from 10 countries.