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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Royal Decrees set to ignite growth of Omani mining sector

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Minerals Development Oman (MDO) has welcomed the issuance of 12 Royal Decrees ratifying mining concession agreements granting the company 12 concession areas from exploration to mining.


The pacts are in line with newly adopted strategy of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals to develop the minerals sector through concession agreements including legal, technical, and financial terms to be signed between the Ministry and investors as an investment management method to lead the mechanism of managing the exploited minerals identified in concession areas.


The total size of the concession areas included in the agreements is around 21,480 square kilometers/km2. They include a number of potential minerals, mainly strategic minerals (metallic) such as Copper, Gold, and Chromium.


The agreements cover eight sites mostly located in Al Batinah North and South, Al Dhahirah, Al Buraimi, Al Dakhiliyah and Al Sharqiyah North and South. All are exploration-to-mining concession areas, one site located in the Wilayat of Yanqul with an area size of 20 square kilometers/km2 is a copper concession area that reached an advanced exploration phase to be ready for mining.


En. Nasser bin Saif al Maqbali, CEO of MDO, said: “It’s a significant day for MDO as we are witnessing a historic moment with the issuing the 12 Royal Decrees that approved mining concession agreements. Through this, MDO will be able to promote its plans to invest in exploration programs for a number of strategic minerals, which will be the cornerstone of an Omani mining industry that will be vast and advanced in its operations.”


He added: “It is hoped that this will enable Oman to attract strategic partnerships, take full advantage of the mining sector, and position Oman for global mining investment. Besides enhancing the role of mining-related sectors, it will also promote sustainable development and social responsibility, building national capabilities, rehabilitating mining forces, and realizing that the mining sector plays a significant role in developing local communities and supporting small and medium enterprises”.


By identifying the concession areas in the minerals sector, the Ministry aims to overcome the challenges facing the licensing mechanism through:


1 — Contributing to creating an integrated database includes geological, geophysical, and exploration surveys that cover most of the Sultanate of Oman in order to create an organized and sustainable source of mining opportunities in Oman where the investor can explore all the minerals available in the concession areas.


2 — The concessions include all the terms related to the competent government entities such as environmental conditions, which will enable investors to obtain theses approvals from these entities to smoothly move from exploration to mining phase.


3 — Providing the required size and quantities of the primary metallic ores so it can be commercially invested in the minerals processing operation to increase the concentration levels, and consequently increase its market value. These quantities of minerals reserves will facilitate the creation of in country value to the mineral ores available in the Oman through establishing downstream mining and manufacturing industries.


4 — Facilitating funding from the bank sector for investment in mining sector through developing a long-term agreement with the investor.


5 — Focusing Ministry efforts resources in the high strategic minerals (metallic minerals) especially the ones related to Fourth Industrial Revolution, while enhancing industrial mineral production (non-metallic minerals) through attracting international specialized companies and enable the establishment of mining industries and creating various job opportunities.


Earlier, MDO announced the start of the airborne survey for exploration of metallic minerals, which is conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM) and a number of government entities.


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