In keeping with its aim to develop the mining sector to achieve optimal exploitation of mineral resources in a manner that will best serve the development goals in the Sultanate, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (“MOCI”) issued Royal Decree 49 of 2014 on 21 September 2014 which established a Public Authority for Mining in Oman (the “Authority”).
The Authority is affiliated with MOCI under a new umbrella of management, making it an independent governmental body. The establishment of the new Authority is an innovative step for the mining sector and is likely to have a positive impact for the development of the mining sector in Oman.
Considered as a separate entity, the Authority has wide ranging functions (as detailed below) to regulate the mining sector in Oman. At this stage, it is unclear as to how the functions of the Authority will be implemented. Funding of the Authority shall be through provisions allocated in the state budget, revenues generated by the Authority and grants that are accepted by the Authority’s Board of Directors. On the other hand, the management of the Authority and the organisation of its affairs shall be undertaken by the Authority’s Board of Directors.
The Authority shall have several functions, duties and obligations that will be carried out in accordance with previous methods implemented by the Directorate General of Mining. The Authority’s duties will include the following:
- Preparing strategies and policies of the basic geological structure of the Sultanate.
- Reviewing and drafting laws and regulations with the aim of providing organisational structure that encourages the development of the mining sector.
- Preparing studies and creating research teams to obtain the needed information for the feasibility of projects as well as to study the prospect for mineral exploitation.
- Supervising and overseeing any activities related to the mining sector with the aim of achieving optimal exploitation of mining resources in the country as well as striving to preserve the geological heritage.
- Cooperating with both national and international organisations that are related to the mining sector in Oman as well as representing the Sultanate in international events in this field.
As the Authority was only recently introduced, its actual impact is not fully understood and the significance of its introduction can only be properly evaluated at a later time. Nevertheless in our view, the autonomy of the Authority provides companies a chance to interact with the Authority in an easier manner in order to improve the communication between the government and companies operating in the mining field.