Muscat: Oman’s mining industry has urged authorities to incorporate clear clauses for speedy processing of mining licence in a move to avoid project delays and possibility of losses arising from wide fluctuation in metal price in the global markets.
Top-level officials of mining firms, who are members of a steering committee for finalising programmes for the forthcoming Oman Minerals and Mining Exhibition and Conference, said that mining firms do not want to wait for years to get approval, rather they expect clearance for mining project concessions within three to six months so that the companies can take right decision or move to another location.
The mining industry needs a clearly defined timing for approval in the proposed law and more clarity on the milestones to be achieved within the time frame. This is important in view of the fact that the commodities are vulnerable to wide price fluctuations and the companies can forecast prices only for a three-year time frame. Therefore, if it takes two years to get a licence, then the feasibility study may become irrelevant. For instance, the metal prices have undergone wide fluctuations since 2008.
Mining firms and investors generally look at several opportunities in different countries or locations and the companies carry out screening, pre-feasibility and feasibility studies to take a right investment decision at the right time.
In fact, mining industry officials said that the business is a risky business, vulnerable to wide fluctuation in metal prices.
The Sultanate has ample opportunity to develop copper, chromite, limestone and gypsum, thanks to availability of raw materials, better infrastructure and port facilities, strategic location and opportunity to export it to overseas markets. Some of the locations are being studies, while others are waiting for approval.