The Ministry of Energy and Minerals, and Minerals Development Oman (MDO), an affiliate of Oman Investment Authority, has signed today 12 exploration-to-mining concession agreements. The agreements were signed by H.E. Dr.Mohammed Al Rumhi Minister of Energy and Minerals, and Dr. Badar Al Kharusi Chairman of Minerals Development Oman. A representative from Oman Investment Authority has attended the signing ceremony.
UThis step comes as the Ministry adopted a new strategy to develop the Minerals sector through concession agreements including legal, technical, and financial terms to be signed between the Ministry and investors as an investment management method to lead the mechanism of managing the exploited minerals identified in concession areas.
H.E. Al Rumhi stated that MEM is working towards the development and management of Minerals sector in an effective and professional manner that goes in line with the sector's aspirations as one of the economic diversification sectors.
The Ministry has adopted a new methodology to develop this sector through establishing mining concession agreements of large areas similar to the practice in Oil and Gas sector. Those areas will be offered to local and international companies specialized in exploration and minerals extraction as per an exploration and mining concession agreement. The agreements are linked with the creation of in country value in mineral ores in the Sultanate of Oman, and establishment of downstream mining and manufacturing industries, in addition to creating more job opportunities.
From His side, Dr. Badar Al Kharusi stated that by signing these agreements, we mark a significant milestone for MDO's future. MDO has a promising aspirations to invest in exploration activities across Oman targeting several strategic commodities and we hope that the promising results of these exploration activities will be a solid cornerstone to attract strategic investors and ultimately promote the entire Omani mining sector, in collaboration with our esteemed partner Ministry of Energy and Minerals.
He added that these agreements are a starting point for exploration and evaluation of the current and new mineral resources. MDO plans will commence by launching an ambitious program of Airborne Geophysical Survey will be followed by geochemical studies, aiming at identifying the potential of several minerals in these areas. Moreover, these concessions will enable mining and exploitation of resources especially Copper in Wilayat of Yanqul and industrial minerals in Wilayat of Shaleem. As we mark this achievement, we express our thanks and gratitude to the Ministry of Energy and Minerals for the tangible cooperation and the trust put in MDO. Thanks, are extended to Oman Investment Authority for their continuous support and encouragement.
The total size of the concession areas included in the agreements is around 21,480 square kilometers/km2. 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 Sharqiah North and South. All are exploration-to-mining concession areas, one site located in the Wilayat of Yanqul with an area size of 20 square kilometers/km2 is a copper concession area that reached an advanced exploration phase to be ready for mining.
The industrial minerals (non-metallic) included in the agreements are Dolomite, Silica, Gypsum, and Limestone in the fourth other areas located in the governorate of Muscat and Dhofar, three of them concession areas that reached advance exploration phase to be ready for mining located in Shaleem with a total area size of 1,489 square kilometers/km2 including ores like Dolomite, Limestone, and Gypsum.
The Ministry through identifying the concession areas in minerals sector, aims to overcome the challenges facing the licensing mechanism (which is limited now to public sites only) through:
It is worth mentioning that MEM is working towards regulating the investment in Mining sector to insure the utmost utilization of the mineral reserves in Oman, through creating a mechanism to ensure the sector sustainability. The concession areas comes as one of the projects that can contribute in enhancing the sector and economic growth in Oman.
The vision of the Ministry is regulating the licensing system and its issuance period through a ready for investment mining opportunities that will be offered as concession areas which will help developing an investment portfolio and organized sector, in addition to reducing the environmental impact. It will effectively contribute in achieving the utmost utilization of the sector with the existence of a clear regulatory environment.
This will contribute into placing the Sultanate of Oman on the international mining investment map and will eventually enhance the role of the related sectors such as industry, innovation, logistics, construction, and other sectors. In addition to enhancing sustainable development and social responsibility, building national capabilities and preparing the national cadres in the mining sector. It will also achieve the sector role in developing the local communities and supports the local small and medium activities. It will keep an open window for thoughts and initiative owners to start new projects in mining related industries, as these projects will have an active role in increasing the commercial activities near mining concession areas.
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