The Embassy of Italy, in cooperation with the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, promoted a roundtable with prominent geologists from Italy and the Sultanate of Oman to identify ways to broaden the scientific, academic and training collaboration in the geological field to support the expansion of the mining sector in Oman in line with the goals of Oman Vision 2040.
Panelists included key figures from the Geological Society of Oman, the Italian Geological Society, the Italian National Council of Geologists as well as several Italian and Omani universities - including GUtech, Sultan Qaboos University, University of Bologna and University of Siena - and oil companies such as ENI.
The discussion highlighted all the research that has been already done by Italian geologists in the Sultanate of Oman over the years, both through research in the field and academic collaboration.
“The great potential of mining sector in Oman requires strong research and exploration capabilities and Italy is keen to share its long tradition of geological studies and to cooperate with an enthusiastic group of Omani scholars to set the framework for a solid and promising mining sector in Oman,” said Ambassador of Italy Federica Favi while opening the meeting.
“Thanks to the excellent work done by ENI, Italian geological research in the Oman has been so far mostly focused on the oil and gas reservoirs. University cooperation and professional training are essential to go further to make sure that the mining industry can flourish in the Sultanate of Oman and many job opportunities for young Omani geologists can arise from this new sector”, she added.
Both the President of the Geological Society of Oman, Husam al Rawahi, and the Italian Geological Society board member, David Iacopini, shared the view that creating synergies between the respective geological societies and associations can support scientific research and mutually increase professional skills. Several representatives from the academia also underlined how promoting synergies with the existing research, training and scholarship programmes from both countries would also support future collaborations.
The Sultanate of Oman is home to an outstanding array of geological phenomena, many of which are world class. Over the years both local and international geologists have devoted studies to the Sultanate of Oman. Still, the rich diversity of the landscape offers many research opportunities. Italy has a long tradition of geological studies, dating back to the 19th century and taking its roots in the diverse landscape of Italian territory, ranging from dolomite in the Alps to active volcanoes in Sicily.
Current studies are focusing also on the connections with environmental protection, sustainable mining, heritage conservation, tourism of geological heritage, which are areas of mutual interest for both Italy and Oman. Broader scientific cooperation can stimulate further explorations and the exploitation of untapped resources, thus progressing in the Sultanate of Oman’s economic diversification process.
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