A picture taken on November 23, 2016 shows hundreds of aluminium ingots produced by the Maaden Aluminium Factory on display in Ras Al-Khair Industrial area near Jubail City, 570 kms east of the Saudi capital Riyadh. AFP / FAYEZ NURELDINE
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In the desert, far from the skyscrapers and busy streets of its big cities, oil-dependent Saudi Arabia is looking to build its future on two other natural resources.Phosphate minerals, used to produce fertilizer, and bauxite, the chief ore in making aluminum, are at the core of an effort to make mining a pillar of a diversified Saudi economy.About 80 kilometers north of Jubail on Saudi Arabia's Gulf Coast, the Ras al-Khair Industrial City has risen from the barren sands of the desert over the last eight years.With reserves including phosphate, bauxite, copper and uranium, Saudi Arabia is rich in minerals.Phosphate rock mined west of Arar city in the far north near Iraq is transported by rail 1,450 kilometers across the desert to Ras al-Khair, where it is turned into fertilizer.Stretching over 90 square kilometers, the Ras al-Khair site is vast, its factories standing alongside housing and other facilities for roughly 12,000 workers.
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