Muscat: The Public Authority for Mining (PAM) on Monday, announced the start of a copper mining project in the Wilayat of Mudhaibi.
The mining is slated to cost OMR25 million, providing a cash flow of up to OMR200 million for an initial ten years, though it is subject to an extension.
The project is being implemented by Al Hadeetha.
The launching ceremony was attended by the CEO of the Public Authority for Mining, as well as a number of investors, officials and dignitaries of the Wilayat, during which the details of the project were explained, along with its technical and financial aspects.
The copper mining will take place over an area of 39 square kilometres. It began in 2006 at this site, along with two other sites, Malq and Al Ajal, beginning more than six years ago. Copper in excess of 16 million tonnes was discovered in a site called Al Wishahi. Consequently, more than $10 million has been invested in these sites, and a feasibility study was also undertaken.
The project is expected to create jobs for Omanis, besides generating tax revenue by way of royalties. Indirect economic activity like leasing of residential buildings and machineries is also expected to benefit the country.
Moreover, corporate social responsiblity (CSR) associated with the project is expected to help local communities help set up small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in accordance with the mining law.
Work started in 2006
Hilal bin Mohammed Al Busaidi, the CEO of the Public Authority for Mining said: “The exploration work started on the site in 2006 in cooperation with the French company who was our strategic partner until 2011. Then the Australian company Alara Resources our current strategic partner continued the excavation and exploration process, which resulted in establishing the availability of copper resources in adequate quantity required for commercial mining."
“This is one of the largest single copper resources in the Sultanate. More than OMR4 million have been invested specifically in Wadi Indam area in the Wilayat of Mudhaibi. Explorations have also been carried out in two other concession sites, Al Ajal area in the Wilayat of Barka, and Mullaq area in the Wilayat of Mudhaibi," he said.
“Also, the company is in the process of establishing a sewage plant with a cost of OMR2 million in order to provide the water needs of the project,” he added.
Famous copper mines
The Sultanate has been famous for its copper mines since 3,000 BC, which is about 5000 years ago. Ancient records from Assyrian and Sumeria indicate that present day Oman exported copper to Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq). The latter called Oman as Majan, which means the land of copper. Ancient Oman boasted of its own bronze age civilization, in large part thanks to the copper mines, which helped make bronze.