MUSCAT: The Ministry of Energy and Minerals signed on Thursday a mining concession agreement with Knights Bay of Britain covering the mining concession rights to Block 21 in the Wilayat of Ibra in the Governorate of North A’Sharqiyah. Under the agreement, the UK firm will extract nickel and its derivatives with high purity without any carbon emissions (zero carbon).

The agreement was signed by Eng Salim Nasser al Aufi, Minister of Energy and Minerals, with Brian Spratley, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Knights Bay.

Dr Salah bin Hafeedh al Dahab, Director General of Investment at the Ministry, said this agreement comes in line with the government's approach to allocate mining concession areas to develop investment in the mineral sector in the Sultanate of Oman. This agreement, he pointed out, is the first mining agreement with a foreign investor.

He added that initial investments related to the exploration and appraisal phase are estimated at about $25 – 30 million in the first three years, covering an area of 1,444 square kilometres.

In a statement to Oman News Agency (ONA), Dr Salah said this phase also includes geological surveys and the drilling of a number of exploratory and appraisal wells, as well as chemical analysis to confirm the quantities of mineral reserves according to approved international standards.

Brian Spratley said that the agreement is important towards achieving the strategy of the Sultanate of Oman in strengthening non-oil industries and contributing to economic diversification based on Oman Vision 2040.

Through the agreement, Knights Bay will build, develop and process battery minerals (nickel and cobalt) in the Sultanate of Oman to meet the global demand for nickel through electric car manufacturers.

The signing ceremony of the agreement was attended by Mohsen Hamad al Hadhrami, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, and the Chargés d'affaires of the British Embassy in Muscat.


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