Sultanate may become minerals export hub

By Kabeer Yousuf — MUSCAT: Jan 16 – Oman has the potential to become a “minerals export hub” in the region, according to experts attending Oman Minerals and Mining Exhibition and Conference here. “Oman has the potential to become a minerals hub within a short span of time if all concerted efforts of the country bear fruit,” said Ravi, MD, Bedrock Mineral Resources Consulting (BMRC). According to him, Oman is blessed with huge mineral deposits (both metallic and non-metallic), copper, limestone, gypsum, silicon metal, dolomite, etc. “Reports reveal Oman has about 950 million tonnes of gypsum reserves and 500 million tonnes of dolomite deposits.”
Oman has a vast wealth of industrial rocks, minerals and metals. Some of its natural resources include — besides petroleum and natural gas — copper, asbestos, limestone, chromium and gypsum, he said.
900547In an attempt to accelerate mining activity in Oman, the country formed the Public Authority for Mining some years ago.
Duqm is known for its industrial minerals and salt, while fertilisers such as potash are found some 500 km from central Oman. Thamrait is known for gypsum and Salalah for limestone. Shuwaimya is known for limestone, gypsum and dolomite, while Sohar is rich in copper gold, Gabbro and limestone, said the experts.
Port of Salalah, a major gateway for the export of minerals and other natural deposits, transported 8,576,415 tonnes of limestone and gypsum last year compared with 8,604,408 tonnes in 2015. Of this, gypsum constituted for six million tonnes and limestone three million tonnes.
In 2011, Oman exported 2,896,249 tonnes of limestone, gypsum and other minerals.
“India and Thailand are the biggest users of Omani gypsum and limestone,” said Mohammed al Mashani, GM- Corporate Communications at the Port of Salalah. “For 2017, we have been receiving bulk orders from different corners,” he added.
With a highly favourable royalty charged by the government and assured global investment from Canada, India and other Gulf countries, Oman’s minerals sector will continue to grow significantly in the coming years, they added.