Oman’s Public Authority for Mining (PAM) says it will provide the required investment opportunities for Oman Railway Company’s planned minerals line to be commercially justifiable.

A new study is underway to assess and identify the amount of mineral reserves across the country, in part to help build the business case for the planned Oman Rail minerals railway, which will link the mineral-rich regions in the Dhofar Governorate to Duqm Port.

“Since the mineral occurrences are spread out all over the whole sultanate some of the minerals occur in areas far away from the existing export ports and industrial cities,” Halal al-Busaidi, CEO of the Public Authority for Mining, tells MEED. “The railway will provide an effective way of transporting the minerals to the ports… in addition, the transportation of the raw materials to the industrial sites will enable added value manufacturing [before they are exported to international markets],”

A new mining law is also progressing towards approval, according to Al-Busaidi.

“The law will encourage investment in the mining sector through increased transparency, longer licence periods [for mining companies], and… simplified processes in obtaining a licence,” Al-Busaidi says.

The draft law was submitted for review in late 2015.

The new law is crucial to revitalising Oman’s mining industry in line with the plan to increase the sector’s GDP contribution under the sultanate’s Ninth Five-Year Development Plan, covering the period 2016-20.

Al-Busaidi says his agency is developing a 10-year mining strategy that will ensure that the sector’s growth in the past two years will be sustained over the long term.