Muscat: Forecasts for the mining sector in Oman is promising with the promulgation of the Minerals Resources Law and several key projects being undertaken by the Ministry of Energy and Minerals to attract mega investments into this vital sector.

For increasing the contribution of the mining sector to the gross domestic product (GDP), the Ministry is working on the optimal utilisation of minerals and conducting pre-feasibility studies.

The Ministry of Energy and Minerals seeks to develop and organise the sector by completing and developing the geological, geophysical and geochemical maps of Oman. It is pressing ahead with exploration of all kinds of minerals and determining their uses in the field of industry. It is exerting efforts to maximise benefits from available resources with the prime aim of diversifying sources of national income and setting aside large quantities of minerals.

The ministry also encourages the establishment of industries that rely on minerals such as the glass industry, the production of copper alloys and metal industries.

The ministry has also embarked on raising the added value of the product before its export. It is issuing regulations to encourage investors to enter into production activities that benefit from local mineral ores.

The mining sector constitutes one of the basic economic pillars that Oman Vision 2040 seeks to establish.

Eng. Saud Khamis Al Mahrouqi, Director General of Minerals at the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, said that the ministry has so far signed 16 agreements in the mining sector.

Those pertain to 12 concession areas for metallic minerals with the Oman Minerals Development Company, a concession area agreement for laterite ore with the British company “Nights Bay” and three agreements for concession areas of “potash” and “lithium” ore (signed with “Mawarid Mining”, “Tasnim” and “Ara”).

Al Mahrouqi pointed out that the ministry has plans to make the mining sector in Oman a sustainable sector that enhances value added chains, both upstream and downstream in the economic echelon.

For his part, Al Zubair Mohammed Al Zubair, Chairman of the Board of Directors of “Ara” Natural Resources Company, said that the mining sector in Oman is a promising sector targeted by Oman Vision 2040 for economic diversification and the growth of the gross domestic product, due to the abundance of various metal types that could generate a wealth of investment opportunities.

Prior to its culmination into final form, the mining sector saw a chain of structural changes, capped up by the promulgation of Royal Decree No. 75/2020, which merged the mining sector with the oil, gas and renewable energy sectors. The Ministry of Energy and Minerals has ever since been entrusted with the management of the mining sector, previously run by the “Public Authority for Mining”, which was established under Royal Decree No. 49/2014.

The Ministry of Energy and Minerals is developing the areas of control and inspection in the mining sector to maximize the added value and boost its expected returns. This step was undertaken in cooperation with strategic partners, including the Smart Monitoring Initiative, whose tender was floated recently and is currently being evaluated.

Oman boasts a range of metallic mineral ores such as copper, chromium, iron ore, manganese and non-metallic ores like marble, limestone, gypsum, clay, silica and dolomite sandstone.

Oman, which abounds with high quality mineral ores, constitutes a major global destination due to the growing demand for these products. Oman occupies first place worldwide in exporting gypsum ore because of the mineral’s high purity and large reserves.

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