Oman’s Public Authority for Mining (PAM) has announced that it is making headway in the delivery of its keenly-awaited initiative to offer ‘investment-ready’ mining concessions that — for the first time — will come bundled with all of the requisite government permits and clearances. Hilal bin Mohammed al Busaidy (pictured), Chief Executive Officer, said the first phase of the landmark initiative — aimed at pinpointing the presence of commercially exploitable mineral resources in the different parts of the country — has now been completed. “This is an initiative that the Public Authority for Mining is proud of,” said Al Busaidy. “We launched this project about a year ago in terms of defining blocks for every type of mineral across the country. We have completed the first stage, which is to determine the distribution of minerals in the different (governorates). This data has been communicated to the relevant government bodies to ensure there is no conflicting projects in those particular areas before they take us into confidence.”
Speaking to the Observer, Al Busaidy said the Authority has made good progress in defining “smaller blocks” to be offered for investment to interested investors. Efforts are now under way to obtain the all-important ‘No-Objection Certificates’ and permits from the relevant ministries and government departments before they can be offered to potential investors, he noted.
The so-called ‘Ready to Invest Mining Blocks’ initiative of the Authority is being eagerly awaited by local and international players because it enables investors to hit the ground running without having to wait, potentially for many years, to begin actual development of their concessions. The project is expected to spark strong investment in the mining sector when it is eventually rolled out.
Also making headway is a joint initiative by PAM with the Minerals Development Oman (MDO), a new investment flagship of the Sultanate, to evaluate the commercial potential of massive deposits of mainly gypsum, limestone and dolomite in the eastern part of Dhofar Governorate. The economics of developing these resources, mainly in Shuwaymiyah and Manji, are key to the implementation of the Mineral Line Project — a railroad dedicated to the transportation of minerals from these sites to the Special Economic Zone at Duqm and adjoining maritime port for further processing and export.
“The study being conducted by MDO is targeted for completion by May, but is expected to be ready much earlier,” said Al Busaidy. “Based on the findings of this study, and the volumes of minerals found in these areas, the relevant stakeholders will decide whether the proposed rail project is economically viable or not, for the transportation of these resources.”