Wholly government-owned Minerals Development Oman (MDO), which is rapidly emerging as one of the foremost players in the Sultanate's mining and mineral processing sectors, has announced plans to develop a huge solar salt project at Mahout in Al Wusta Governorate. To this end, it has sought approvals for a concession covering an area of 122 sq kilometres, which will be largest of its kind in the Sultanate. The giant solar salt scheme will harness the governorate's prodigious natural sea-salt generating potential for various oilfield, petrochemical and industrial applications.

Fahad al Adi, Head of Corporate Support at MDO, said the proposed concession covers an area extending from Mahout all the way to Duqm. Speaking at the OER Business Summit that took place in Muscat last week, Al Adi said the mega solar salt scheme has the potential to open up opportunities for downstream investments in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Duqm.

Industrial salt enjoys significant demand in the domestic upstream hydrocarbon industry, as well in downstream applications as well, notably in chlor alkali industries. Export opportunities are promising as well, he said. A partner in the Mahout Solar Salt project is Shomookh Mining Industries Company, which is already developing a major mineral processing cluster at Duqm SEZ. The cluster has attracted private sector commitments to invest in a number of factories dedicated to the production of clinker, calcium hydroxide, lime, dyes, glass, aluminium, waste containers and fertiliser.

At the Business Summit, Al Adi also unveiled MDO's plans to set up Oman's first Industrial Minerals Block at Shaleem in Dhofar Governorate. Covering an area of an estimated 3,000 sq kilometres, the Shaleem Minerals Block will also be biggest mining venture of its kind in the Sultanate, potentially yielding copious quantities of gypsum, dolomite, limestone and attapulgite for downstream processing plants planned in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Duqm. Established in 2016, MDO is as a partnership of the State General Reserve Fund (SGRF), with a 50 per cent shareholding, and Oman Investment Fund (OIF) with 25 per cent, and Oman National Investments Development Company (TANMIA) with 25 per cent.Related

Source: Ministry of Information Sultanate of Oman