Tanmia eyes investments in Oman’s mining sector

MUSCAT, MAY 11 – Oman National Investments Development Company SAOC (Tanmia), a wholly government-owned enterprise, says it is increasingly looking at investment opportunities in the Sultanate’s promising mining sector. The closed joint stock company, set up by Royal Decree to manage investment funds as well as invest directly, currently has investments across a wide variety of sectors across the Omani economy. The State-Owned Enterprise (SOE), according to a key executive, is eyeing opportunities beyond those pursued by Mineral Development Oman (MDO) — the government-backed mining industry investment and development flagship — in which Tanmia is an important shareholder.
“We believe Oman’s mineral resources have been underutilised and underexploited commercially, so we think this is a good sector to focus on,” said Mohammed Anwar al Lawati (pictured), who is part of Tanmia’s Private Markets division. “In mining, our investments are through Mineral Development Oman (MDO) but we have certain other deals in the pipeline as well,” he stated. Speaking at an industry expo held in the city recently, the official said Tanmia’s investment interest in the mining sector was primarily guided by three key factors: the presence of a wide array of geological resources ranging from precious metals to industrial minerals; the availability of robust support infrastructure and logistics in the form of road networks and ports; and new regulatory framework that puts the accent on transparency while seeking to eschew bureaucratic red tape.
Al Lawati noted in particular the mining sector’s potential to bolster the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). “Mining’s contribution to GDP is very minimal at present — accounting for 0.5-1 per cent; but we see huge upside potential and we expect this (percentage) to significantly increase over the mid and long terms,” he said, adding that the sector’s contribution to GDP is projected to rise from RO 150 million in value terms presently to RO 500 million by 2023.
In his presentation, the executive also welcomed efforts by the Public Authority for Mining (PAM) to address long-standing “impediments”, such as licensing delays, transparency concerns, and so on, that were a deterrent to investments. However, with the promulgation of a new Mining Law, which will be reinforced by bylaws currently being drafted by the Authority, some of these hurdles will be suitably tackled going forward, he pointed out.
Since the amendment of its mandate in 2013, Tanmia has begun investing in private equities. To date, the company has built a portfolio of 21 investments across 10 sectors in the Sultanate.