UK company Savannah Resources entered into an agreement on 18 November to acquire up to a 65 per cent shareholding in local Al-Thuraya, which wholly owns the highly prospective Block 4 copper project in Oman.

Savannah will fund $4.6m of investment and development over the next four years, using Versatile Time Domain Electromagnetic Surveying (VTEM) technology. They will focus on suitable sites for open-pit mining.

The project covers 408 sq km of the highly prospective copper-rich Semail ophiolite belt 30km south-east of Sohar in Oman. It has seen little exploration using modern techniques like VTEM.

Nearby areas including Aarja, Bayda, Lasail and Lasail West have contained copper reported at 238,840 tonnes.

In 2013 Al-Thuraya reported a loss of RO124,344 ($320,000) and had net assets of RO75,702.

Savannah is also surveying the neighbouring Block 5 of the ophiolite belt using VTEM, and reports encouraging results.

Oman produced over 100,000 tonnes of copper in 2011, with a value of RO61m. In 2012 Australian firm Alara made a substantial copper discovery in Washihi, 125km south of Muscat.