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IIC carves out innovative opportunities for Oman's stone and marble companies
November 6, 2019 | 5:01 PM
by Times News Service
Photo: Supplied
 
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Muscat: A delegation from the Industrial Innovation Centre (IIC) has returned from a fact-finding mission to Malaysia’s Mineral Research Centre (MRC). Exploring innovative opportunities for industries in Oman’s minerals and mining sector and possible technology transfer collaborations, the IIC representatives focused their attention on MRC’s Advanced Material and Mineral Processing departments along with its Rock and Silica Technology sections. On completion of their visit to MRC, the delegation went on to attend the Global Gypsum Conference in Kula Lumpur.

Dr Al Mahruk, IIC CEO explained that over the next five years, IIC would be combining its expertise with that of the Public Authority for Mining (PAM) in a joint project: ‘Mineral & Mining Sector Innovation’.

Catalysing innovation in this key pillar of Oman’s economic diversification strategy, the project will help operators in the area with the optimal development of Oman’s wealth of mineral resources. The project further aims to increase mineral product diversification, capitalise on the growing global demand for products from minerals, and attract investment into the sector.

Noting that Omani mineral products have a long-standing and well-established reputation for quality and are in demand in both domestic and international markets, the CEO noted, “US$125 billion in new GCC construction projects were announced in the first six months of this year, part of an estimated 27,000 active projects across the region, worth a total of US$2.52 trillion that are driving demand for stone, marble and granite products. On top of this, demand across Asia is growing rapidly. This means a wealth of lucrative opportunities certainly abound for Omani companies and entrepreneurs who deploy innovative manufacturing methods and develop innovative, competitive products to meet evolving requirements.”



Dr Talal, director of Minerals Innovation Sector stated that IIC has previously engaged in highly successful collaboration with MRC on the development of prototypes for the use of marble waste in new composite products. “IIC has made the mining sector one its main areas of focus, opening up innovative new opportunities for companies working in minerals, and its associated technologies helping refine existing products and bringing new ones to market.”

He added: "I’m proud to say IIC has already made a good start in this regard. Our sector innovation programme has identified 91 opportunities in marble alone, 25 of which have already been approved for action. As well as novel products for construction, these also encompass less obvious uses of stone and marble such as their use as supplements in animal feed and as soil enhancers along with eco-conscious new approaches to the use of industrial waste materials. On top of this, we’ve graduated three individuals from our Marble and Stone Industrial Innovation Specialist Programme this year to make sure businesses in the sector have the capacity they need to accelerate the development and commercialisation of their innovations in products and processes. And through visits such as this recent one to Malaysia, we can not only scout further new opportunities for our industries but also facilitate the transfer of technology and cutting-edge manufacturing methods that will power Omani innovations forward.”



Lead and governed by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, IIC is a Tanfeedh initiative of Manufacturing Labs and got established by Madayn in 2017. Unleashing the power of innovation across Oman’s industry, IIC proudly champions technology transfer, Intellectual Property Protection and the development of the knowledge economy to generate sustainable quality jobs, build capacity, nurture a culture of entrepreneurship, attract investment, increase the contribution of industry to GDP, improve the Sultanate’s global competitiveness, and drive the diversification and growth of our economy.



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