What is the Arabian Nubian Shield? 

What is the Arabian Nubian Shield?

Amanuel Biedemariam

The Arabian-Nubian Shield is an exposure of Precambrian crystalline rocks on the flanks of the Red Sea. It is a vast territory with new, underexplored mining opportunities. It is an extensive prehistoric ancient geological formation dating to the earliest part of Earth’s history, 1 billion to 541 million years ago. In geologic terms, it is called Neoproterozoic. It is a vast expanse of land on Earth.

The Red Sea is in the middle of the Nubian Shield, dividing it into two parts. The Western part of the Nubian Shield is in Africa.  From North to South, the Western half of the Shield includes the African nations of Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

The Eastern Half of the Shield is a vast area on the western part of the Arabian peninsula, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Israel.

The region was the focus of major global powers for centuries. France, Britain, Italy, and the Ottoman Empire have a long history of competing to control the region.   After World War II and during the Cold War, the region’s growth potential was limited. After the Cold War ended, there appeared to be a potential for the US to play a dominant role.

However, since the Arab Spring, attitudes, strategies, and geopolitical formations have transformed.  Today, the emergence of the multi-polar world is driving exploration for rare-earth minerals in one of the world’s most strategic areas.

The region has a rich mining history. The evidence of mining in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Eritrea, and Yemen existed more than 5000 years ago. The presence of a wide array of essential rare earth minerals in the Arabian Shield is widely known.

The ability and opportunity to exploit these vast resources is now a reality. As a result, The Nubian Shield is the next biggest mining destination in the world.

These developments raise many questions. What is going on in the region? How can the nations take part in this? Who is doing what?  And many more questions to shed light on it.

The region is rich with great potential to transform the region and the lives of hundreds of millions in the region.

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