MUSCAT: An Omani-Australian joint venture behind the recent successful launch of a copper-gold project in Al Mudhaibi Wilayat has announced a substantial expansion of the acreage granted to it by the Omani government for exploration in potentially mineral-rich North Al Sharqiyah Governorate.

Alara Resources Ltd, the Australian partner in the joint venture, said on Tuesday that it has been awarded 1,452 sq km of additional acreage for exploration by the Ministry of Energy and Minerals in the wilayat. Titled Block 22-B, the acreage is still subject to negotiations leading to an Exploration and Mining Concession Agreement enshrining exclusive rights for the exploration, appraisal, development an mining of designated mineral resources within the site.

Welcoming the exploration award, Atmavireshwar Sthapak, Managing Director – Alara, commented: “Alara securing an additional area for mineral exploration in Oman demonstrates the Government's faith and trust in the Company and its JV partners. This exciting moment is the result of Alara's strong, decade-long commitment and unwavering effort, in alignment with the Omani Government’s vision for mining, by investing in and conducting state-of-the-art mineral exploration campaigns, discovering multiple instances of base metal mineralisation in the country and developing an operating copper mine.

Extended Block 22-B, which includes the existing Wash-hi-Majaza copper-goldmine and an ancient mine and copper mineralisation intersected at Mullaq, has tremendous potential for further mineral discoveries adjacent to the Company’s existing processing facility. The timing of the grant of this concession fits well into Alara's overall Oman copper development strategy,” he further added.

Last month, Alara’s 51% owned Al Hadeetha Resources Limited commenced copper concentrate production from its Al Wash-hi Majaza project in Al Mudhaibi - the first by an international mining firm to exploit copper and associated gold resources since the enactment of a revamped mining law in Oman. It follows the successful start of commissioning of a 1 million tonnes per annum capacity concentrator plant at the heart of the mining project.

Significantly, the Washihi copper-gold deposit (covering a 39 sq km area) and an ancient copper mining site at Mullaq (covering 41 sq km) are already located within the newly rejigged Block 22-B area. It was created by combining the former Blocks 22-A and 22-B into a newly consolidated Block that includes exploration licenses previously granted to Al Hadeetha Resources LLC (AHRL) in which Alara holds a 51% interest.

The remainder of Block 22-B will be represented by a new JV company comprising Alara (27.5%), Al Hadeetha Resources, Al Naba Group and Al Tasnim Group (each also holding 27.5%) with the remaining 17.5% to be offered to South West Pinnacle, an existing Alara JV Partner in Alara Resources.

Areas already explored within Block 22-B are believed to abound with upper-crustal rocks similar to those in the Semail Ophiolite which are considered to be rich in promising base metal resources. “There are reports of several old copper workings in the north-western section of the Block, old gold and chromium workings in the northern section and a small number of old iron workings in the western section,” Alara added in its statement.

2022 © All right reserved for Oman Establishment for Press, Publication and Advertising (OEPPA) Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (