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Oman unveils large gypsum, copper and limestone reserves

3 Apr 2022 By MOHAMMED TAHA

Muscat – Eng Nasser al Maqbali, CEO of Minerals Development Oman (MDO), unveiled several projects undertaken by MDO last week that will boost the capabilities of the mining sector and augment its contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP).

In his interview with Oman Investment Authority’s quarterly bulletin Enjaz and Eejaz, Maqbali highlighted Mazoon Mining as one of the most promising mining projects. Located in Yanqul in Dhahirah, it is spread over an area of 16 sqkm. It consists of five mines with considerable copper reserves of up to 16mn tonnes and a production capacity of 1.56mn tonnes annually. The project has an estimated cost of around US$300mn.

MDO is continuing its explorations, and there are some promising initial results of finding copper ore in areas surrounding these mines within block No 10, which is known for its promising mineral potential.

Maqbali also spoke about the Industrial Minerals Project in Shaleem, a project the company began developing in 2017. MDO was granted exploration and development rights after conducting the first geological study in Shaleem, which found large gypsum reserves, and high-purity limestone and dolomite.

This was followed by a preliminary analysis of the market and logistical solutions necessary for the project’s feasibility in 2020.

He added that if it is implemented according to the company’s vision, the project will mark a turning point for the mining sector in Oman.

Gypsum exports will undoubtedly witness steady growth, and this project will promote Oman’s global position as the largest supplier of gypsum over the next few years. He went on to say that Omani crude gypsum is characterised by its high purity, competitive prices, and proximity to the consumer markets; it can also be easily exported through Oman’s seaports.

Maqbali mentioned that the company is considering several commercial opportunities to develop the salt industry in another important project. There are currently two key projects, one of which is to produce sea salt in Bar Al Hakman, Mahoot. The other is related to the study of salt production from deep, highly saline waters associated with crude oil extraction activities in collaboration with PDO.

He also said that a recent study conducted by MDO, found large reserves of high-purity limestone, up to 15mn tonnes, in its concession area in Wadi Al Jizi. Therefore, a project will be developed this year to produce 1mn tonnes of limestone annually, which will be supplied to steel plants and several customers in the Sohar Port and Free Zone. Moreover, the company hopes to develop a calcination unit in Sohar Free Zone during the project’s second phase.

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