Mining Development Oman (MDO) expects to appoint a firm to conduct an exploration of gypsum and limestone reserves in the southern governorate of Dhofar soon.

Oman’s mineral railway is expected to link the mineral rich region of Dhofar with Port of Duqm, where the minerals will be exported to other markets by sea.

The study is expected to take between three to six months, according to a source familiar with the plan.

MDO will be conducting the study at the same time Oman Rail is expected to mobilise studies to determine the suitable operation and maintenance model, infrastructure, facilities and auxiliary services, among others, for the mineral railway.

“This approach ensures a clear alignment between the mining and railway plan,” the source tells MEED.

In May, US-based Parsons, Lebanon’s Khatib & Alami and a joint venture of Rete Ferroviara Italiana (Italian Railway State Company) and Italferr were selected for the mineral line’s two-year off-call multifunction consultancy contracts.