292 mining licences issued, says PAM

As many as 292 mining exploration licences were issued by the Public Authority of Mining (PAM) as of December 31, 2017, underscoring a thrust by the government to harness the commercial potential of the nation’s mineral resources for the Sultanate’s economic development.
“The 9th Development Plan envisages increasing the contribution of mining in national GDP to 0.5 per cent by 2020. Towards this objective, the Public Authority for Mining continued to promote exploration and production of minerals in the Sultanate by issuing licences to the companies,” the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) stated in its 2017 Annual Report.
Among the various projects being implemented are gypsum and limestone ore mining in Dhofar, chrome in northern Oman and gypsum in Shuwaymiyah. Foreign direct investment (FDI) is also being encouraged in mining to harness the sector’s potential and increase exports.
To this end, the Public Authority for Mining and the Mineral Development of Oman (MDO) signed an agreement in May 2017 to conduct exploration studies in Manji and Shuwaymiyah areas as part of the railway project to link mining areas. Both these areas contain commercial quantities of gypsum and limestone ore. The railway line is proposed to transfer the minerals from the quarries to the export area in Duqm Port.
“Furthermore, in order to give a strategic direction to the sector, it has been decided to launch and implement mining and energy labs with representatives from government and private stakeholders, academics, experts and representatives of civil society,” the apex bank said.
As per data issued by the Public Authority for Mining, the mining and quarrying sector produced around 66 million tonnes of minerals during 2017. Building materials accounted for the highest share of around 58.4 per cent of the total production, followed by limestone and gypsum with 25.3 per cent and 11.3 per cent, respectively, during 2017.
Other mineral resources produced in 2017 include marble, salt, chromite, iron ore, clay, sand, quartz and silica.