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SMEs dominate Oman’s mining sector

Oman Saturday 03/April/2021 07:29 AM
By: Times News Service
SMEs dominate Oman’s mining sector

Muscat: The mining sector in the Sultanate is dominated by small and medium companies at a rate of more than 95% of the total licenses in the sector, and their production reaches 70% of the total minerals produced in the Sultanate, the consultant of Minerals to the Minister of Energy and Minerals said.
Dr. Salem bin Ali Al Mahrouqi, the consultant of Minerals to the Minister at the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, confirmed in an interview with Al Shabiba.
He pointed out that minerals of high economic value, such as copper and gold, the quantities discovered are very modest, adding:” Gold in Oman is linked to copper, and its concentration is very low, less than 1 g per ton of copper, so the mine is not a gold mine, but a copper mine.”
He also said that the Sultanate is on the right path to develop the mining sector, and there is a new strategy and ambitious plan for the advancement of the sector, which needs continuous updating of procedures and laws, and the existence of Oman Vision 2040, necessitates us looking at the investment climate in the minerals sector, and creating a flexible investment environment in which we can attract local and foreign investments.
Dr. Salem Al Mahrouqi confirmed that the mining sector in the Sultanate is dominated by small and medium companies at a rate of more than 95% of the total licenses in the sector, and their production reaches 70% of the total minerals produced in the Sultanate, and the licenses for the crushers sector equals 66% of the total licenses in this sector.
Dr. Al Mahrouqi added that the Sultanate is currently working to attract foreign investments to this sector because it will contribute to attracting capital, and attracting technical expertise and international best practices in the mineral sector, and this will also contribute to the use of advanced technology that the investor will bring, and that will increase consumer confidence in the mineral sector.
“The foreign investor must be an addition to the local market in that he must create a partnership with the local investor,” he said
The consultant Dr. Al Mahrouqi confirmed also that the Sultanate is seeking to allocate mining concession areas with large areas granted by royal decrees that reach thousands of kilometers, with the aim of attracting highly professional foreign investments in this sector, so that we can oblige these companies to localize industries related to this sector and employ Omani youth.
He said also about the challenges facing the sector that the most important of them are the challenges of obtaining a license, and the nature of the majority of investors in this sector possess modest technical and financial capabilities, in addition to the fact that the mining sector is a greatly depleted sector of energy, and the local market is very limited and also it is facing competition in foreign markets.
With regard to the ores available in the Sultanate, the doctor said that there are 23 ores discovered in the Sultanate, but some of them have not yet been explored or produced.
He added that copper is the metal with the greatest economic feasibility currently at current prices, as it can be said that one ton of copper is equivalent the value of about 550 tons of gypsum.