Oman opens three new sites for mining investment

In Oman’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals’ business approach, concessions will be awarded within three months from opening the bids for new mining sites

Oman’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals has said that three concessions offered up for investment will be awarded within three months of the opening of the bids, in a reflection of the Sultanate’s desire to streamline bureaucracy and streamline processes.

 

Mining materials for the construction and building materials sectors

In a statement, the Ministry said that the expeditious timeframe is a reflection of its 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. 

These measures have been taken to eliminate bureaucracy in the permitting processes surrounding mining investment, it explained.

All three concessions are located in the Wilayat of Ibra in North Al Sharqiyah Governorate, the Ministry said, adding that they have all proved to have commercial quantities of aggregates for the construction and building materials sector.

The sites cover an area of just over 2.5km and have been delineated from a larger mountainous area surveyed by the Ministry. They have been found to be rich in gabbro rocks, which is suitable for quarrying. Adjoining each other, the sites – GS-000023-4, GS-000023-7 and GS-000023-12 – are located about 17km away from the town of Ibra, it added.

Interested parties have until 4th December 2022, to submit their bids for the sites on offer, and successful bidders will only receive one site per company, the statement said. However, unlike the Licensing Round of Mineral Blocks held earlier this year, this public auction will be restricted to Omani mining firms with proven industry experience.

This is so as to drive investment opportunities to smaller Omani players in the industry. A formal opening of the bid envelopes is scheduled at the Ministry on 5th December 2022.

 

Accelerating mining diversification

Oman’s mining and mineral processing sector is one of several ‘thrust’ sectors identified by the Sultanate’s government as key to accelerating its economic diversification strategy. The sector has seen strong investor interest in recent years, it added.

The majority of investment into 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, MDO plans to open up large swathes of the Sultanate for mining investment – either independently or in partnership with local or international investors.

Earlier this year, the company signed agreements with the Ministry to secure mining concessions across a total area of 21,480 square kilometres of land. They include a number of potential minerals, such as strategic metallic ones like copper, gold and chromium. These agreements cover a total of eight sites that are mostly located in Al Batinah North and South, Al Dhahirah, Al Buraimi, Al Dakhiliyah, and Al Sharqiyah North and South.

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

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