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Mining strategy by Dec

 Staff Reporter

MUSCAT

The new mining strategy aimed at attracting local and international investment is to be ready in six months. Alongside, work on the 1-billion rial rail project to connect Al Shuwaymiyah and Manji in Dhofar to Duqm port for transporting minerals was progressing, according to the Public Authority for Mining CEO Hilal Al Busaidi.

He said this after signing an agreement with SRK Consulting Principal Consultant Tim Lucks and supporting firms Mayer Brown and Wood Mackenzie to prepare the strategy.

Al Busaidi said it would be targeting the coming 10 years and would be prepared in approximately six months. “The strategy will be based on PAM’s 12 pillars which include focus on investment, social contribution, environment and development of human resources for the mining industry,” he said.

PAM was seeking a strategy that would be easy to implement and would take into account the geology, environment and commercial aspects of the sector.

Lucks said they were going to examine the mining industry as a whole, across all commodities and make recommendations to bring local and international investment into the country. The consultants would also look at the potential of different areas and point out areas where geological knowledge could be improved to encourage exploration and investment.

Al Busaidi said they were working on the rail project to transport minerals from Al Shuwaymiyah and Manji in Dhofar to Duqm.

The quality of gypsum and limestone available there was under study.  The commercial viability of rail road would depend on freight charges for transporting minerals.

Al Busaidi said Mining Development Oman was studying the quality and quantity of gypsum and limestone in those areas and based on the results concessions could be granted to extract the minerals and transport them to Duqm.

Al Shuwaymiyah and Manji were 330 km from Duqm area where demand for minerals could come from local industry or for export, he added.

Oman exported minerals worth 472 million rials in 2016, a decline of 14 per cent over the previous year.