Three mining concessions offered up for investment by Oman’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals will be awarded within three months of the opening of the bids, the Ministry has pledged.

The expeditious timeframe is a reflection of the Ministry’s new business-friendly approach to the award of mining sites for investment. As pre-approved sites, they come bundled with all of the prescribed permits and approvals secured in advance from the relevant government ministries and departments – a move designed to eliminate bureaucracy in the permitting process surrounding mining investment.

All three concessions, proven to have commercial quantities of aggregates for the construction and building materials sectors, are located in the Wilayat of Ibra in North Al Sharqiyah Governorate.

Covering a total area of just over 2.5 sq kilometres, the three sites have been delineated from a larger mountainous area surveyed by the Ministry and found to be rich in gabbro rocks suitable for quarrying. Adjoining each other, the three sites – GS-000023-4, GS-000023-7 and GS-000023-12 – are located about 17 kilometres from Ibra town, according to the Ministry.

However, unlike the Ministry’s Licensing Round of Mineral Blocks announced earlier this year – which was open to both local and international investors – the latest public auction is restricted to Omani mining firms with proven industry experience. The goal is to channel investment opportunities to smaller Omani players in the industry as well.

Interested parties have until December 4, 2022 to submit their bids for the sites on offer. Successful bidders will however receive only one site per company. A formal opening of the bid envelopes is scheduled at the Ministry on December 5, 2022.

Oman’s mining and mineral processing sector – one of several thrust sectors identified by the Omani government as key to accelerating its economic diversification strategy – is gaining strong investment interest.

In April, the Ministry launched the Mining Bid Round 2022 offering a total of four blocks covering a total area of nearly 9,500 sq kilometres. Ideal for potash based mining, three of the blocks are located in the Umm a’Samim desert adjacent to the Rub Al Khali desert. A fourth block, covering an area of 567 sq kilometres, is located in the Wilayat of Mahout in the eastern-central part of the country.

Much of the investment in Oman’s greenfield mining sector is currently being driven by Mineral Development Oman (MDO), the country’s mining investment and development flagship. Part of Oman Investment Authority (OIA), MDO plans to — either independently or in partnership with local and international investors — open up large swathes of the Sultanate of Oman for mining investment.

Earlier this year, MDO signed agreements with the Ministry to secure mining concessions covering a total of 21,480 square kilometres of land. 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.


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