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Oman-Australia copper miner targets first output by year-end

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MUSCAT: Just over five years after it became the first foreign investor to receive a mining license under Oman’s modernised mining law, the Omani-Australian joint venture Al Hadeetha Resources LLC has announced that it is gearing up to begin production of copper concentrate from its landmark project in North Al Sharqiyah Governorate.

Muscat-based Al Hadeetha Resources LLC is 51 per cent owned by Alara Resources, an Australian-based mining exploration company, which in 2018 received a first-ever license by an international mining firm to exploit copper and associated gold resources at the Al Wash-hi Majazza site in Al Mudhaibi Wilayat in the governorate.

According to a key official of Al Hadeetha, a 1 million tonnes-per annum capacity copper concentrator plant has been readied at site and is currently under early commissioning ahead of the start of operations before the year-end.

The site is now fully geared for operations, said Avigyan Bera, CEO – Al Hadeetha Resources, in a recent media interview. First metal is anticipated before the end of the year, paving the way for the start of revenue inflows from the project, he noted.

Ahead of the hot and cold commissioning of the concentrator, the company has already commenced the mining of copper ore from the site, having earlier excavated massive amounts of overburden to gain access to the underlying ore. By year’s end, an estimated 300,000 tonnes of copper ore is expected to be stockpiled for processing into copper concentrate.

JV partner Alara Resources’ Managing Director Atmavireshwar Sthapak said the project will benefit from an anticipated uptick in global copper prices.

“Alara’s future is one of great opportunity. Although the short-term copper price is off the historic highs of recent years, forecasts are for new records to be set from 2025 as the transition to a renewable energy future gains more momentum. Alara is well positioned to benefit from copper price upside, with the sale of all production from the project for the first 8 years locked in, at a price based on market at the time of delivery,” Sthapak stated in the company’s Annual Report for the year ended June 30, 2023.

Global commodities heavyweight Trafigura has signed a long-term agreement to offtake copper concentrate from the project.

Significantly, the imminent launch of the project – Alara’s flagship among a portfolio of five mining ventures in the Sultanate of Oman – will pave the way for its other investments to be progressed as well, he said.

“Once Al Wash-hi – Majaza Mine copper production is “bedded down”, the company will renew its focus on growing and developing its mineral properties portfolio. Opportunities to be considered may include acquiring advanced-stage exploration assets. Cash flow from copper sales will enable Alara to ramp up the search for our next potential mine, as we move to implement our mission of becoming a mid-tier base metals production company in the Middle East,” Sthapak added.


Section of Al Hadeetha Resources’ project facilities at the Al Washihi-Majaza copper mine

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