Oman Urges Private Companies to Invest in Ignored Minerals Sector
While Oman is blessed with a vast wealth of industrial rocks and minerals, the private sector has so far done very little to tap this resource for national growth and development, according to Oman’s Directorate General of Minerals.
Quoted in a report by Oman Observer, the government agency said that around seven to eight vast mineral deposits, discovered by the DGM after conducting research and exploration for years and spending huge sums of money are still awaiting exploitation.
“Take, for example, ‘aggregate’, the cheapest of all minerals known for low-value-high-volume sales. Aggregate deposits near UAE border in Buraimi and Mahdha regions alone are estimated about 12 billion tons,” said the directorates’ statement.
“Considering a low price of $2 a ton, the total value of aggregate in these regions alone stood at $24 billion.”
“Oman is blessed with huge aggregate deposits at its coastal areas. This being a very good construction material can be exported in bulk from the coastal areas to other Gulf countries.
“Similarly, Oman holds about 950 million tons of gypsum reserves. Gypsum is a much sought-after mineral for a variety of applications such as cement, plaster, board, and agriculture,” added the statement.
Recent studies carried out by the DGM in Shuwaymiya area confirm that more than 165 million tons of gypsum is mineable there, said the paper.
The DGM has drilled "a number of exploratory holes in two areas, each about 2.5 square km, and has found that the location, quality and quantity of gypsum at Shuwaymiya make the deposit very attractive for export.”
Gypsum production (131,909 metric tons) during 2000 was estimated to be worth RO 0.28 million, representing only 1.72 percent of the total reserves.
About 30 percent of the total production at present is being exported to UAE. As of now only two companies are operating in Gypsum exploitation, according to GDM.
Offering another opportunity for investors, Dolomite deposits in Oman are estimated at more than 500 million tons. Used as an ore of magnesium, magnesia production, as refractory, filler in plastics and in glass manufacture, Dolomite deposits in Shuwaymiya coast are estimated at 84 million tons, said the report.
Investors are also invited to exploit Aattapulgite, with total reserves estimated at more than 300 million tons to date, and Limestone, of which Oman has “huge inexhaustible reserves.”
The country is also rich in Kaolin, marble, Silica, and chromite, according to the report.
For metallic minerals, Directorate General of Minerals in collaboration with Japan International Co-operation Agency is conducting further studies and exploration at Yanqul and Ghuzain for copper and gold deposits, added the paper – Albawaba.com