Oman - Non-Oil Minerals

Oman - Non-Oil Minerals

The sultanate produces copper, chromite, gold, and silver. Oman's main copper reserves are in the Suhar area on the Al Batinah coast. The processing of ore at the Suhar complex, operated by the government-owned Oman Mining Company, began in 1983. The production of chromite by the Oman Mining Company also began in 1983 in the Suhar area. Exports of the Oman Mining Company are primarily destined to the Far East market. In 1990 Taiwan accounted for 38.5 percent of exports, followed by Japan with 11.1 percent and South Korea with 2.9 percent.

In July 1991, the government established the Oman Chrome Company (OCC), in which it holds a 15 percent share. The remainder of the shares are held by the private sector. The OCC was created to develop the country's chromite reserves--estimated by the Robertson Group of Britain and the Bureau des Recherches Géologiques et Minières of France at 2 million tons of chromite-- at 600 sites throughout the country. The public offering of OCC shares reflects the government's official policy of encouraging private-sector participation in industry and manufacturing.

Limestone for cement production is mined in both the northern and the southern areas to supply the Oman Cement Company's plant in the Rusayl Industrial Estate near As Sib and the Raysut Cement Corporation's plant near Salalah. Tile and marble are also produced for local construction.

Surveys have indicated deposits of numerous other materials-- asbestos, coal, iron ore, lead, manganese, nickel, silver, and zinc. Large deposits of metal ores are located at the Sayh Hatat area (northeast of Izki) and the Al Jabal al Akhdar area. Substantial deposits of zinc and lead are known to exist in Dhofar, Jalan, and Hawshi Huqf (southwest of Al Ghabah). The feasibility of exploiting coal reserves at Al Kamil, near Sur, to replace oil in electric power generation, is being studied. A preliminary study on coal completed in 1990 by the UN Department of Technical Cooperation for Development estimates coal reserves in the sultanate at 22 million tons, a figure considered adequate for domestic use but not for export.

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