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Huge Deposits of Wonder Minerals

Out of these five deposits, three deposits fall within environmentally protected areas in central Oman and the fourth in Salil on Quriyat road is also adjacent to a protected zone. There is one more area in southern Oman (Hawf topographical sheet) and its suitability has been determined for many industrial applications. Experts say huge commercial deposits of silica sand and quartzite exist in northern, central and southern Oman. Exploitation of silica sand and quartzite has been long overdue in the Sultanate because extensive surveys have revealed huge deposits of this mineral with a tremendous export potential for silica and silica-based products in the GCC countries and elsewhere. Armed with five silica deposits Oman has the potential to emerge as a major exporter of this mineral and its products to the Gulf countries. All the five deposits are accessible by four-wheel-drive cars. Experts say Amdeh quartzite outcrop in Salil (Saih Hatat area), which happens to be the nearest site, is specially suited for the production of glass, ceramics, chemical and for other industrial applications. Located at about 50 km from Muscat, Saih Hatat is estimated to possess more than 10 Mt of silica sand and quartzite. Hauf and Salil outcrops of silica sand and quartzite are about 50 km from the coast. According to geologists once the Duqm Port will be developed, silica deposits from central Oman would become very attractive for export as well as for local use. Three types of industries in Oman, namely glass manufacturing, ceramic tiles and ferrochrome, hold out tremendous demand for silica sand and quartzite as the basic raw material. A beneficiation plant for producing pure or ultra pure forms of silica sand/quartzite with specific grain sizes for various industrial uses is a potentially attractive proposition for investors. A micronizing plant for producing very fine silica powder is another potentially attractive area for investors. Silica powder is a value-added product with a big demand in GCC and other countries. Exploitation of silica sand/quartzite would give rise to a whole range of industries in the Sultanate, provided the private sector takes the necessary initiative with a view to generating long-term benefits for themselves and for the country.  (05/2010)

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