NASSER AL MAQBALI

Oman 2020 | MINING | INTERVIEW

The country has identified mining as one of the strategic sectors for the country diversification strategy.

Nasser Al Maqbali
BIOGRAPHY

Nasser Al Maqbali is the CEO of Minerals Development Oman SAOC. He has over 28 years of experience in executive, operation, and project management, consulting, and business development. He has a BTech in production engineering (UK), a BSc in civil engineering (UK), a master's in civil engineering (risk management) from Australia, and a real estate investment certificate from the US and executive education from London Business School (UK).

How would you assess the potential of the mining sector?
Oman is blessed with diverse portfolio of metallic and non-metallic minerals distributed across the Sultanate. In the government's view, mining ticks all of the boxes as a new economic sector with the potential to enhance Oman's long-term economic diversification. As per PAM, it is estimated that only 3% of our commercial resources are being exploited. The country has a strategic location, with solid infrastructure and a robust industry. MDO has identified seven strategic minerals, centring on the exploitation of copper, to drive its future growth. We also focus on the development of Shaleem Mining Block, a massive 3,500-sqkm block of gypsum, limestone, and dolomite confirmed resources that will lead the future of Oman industrial minerals' growth. MDO is also focusing on other commodities driven by market needs such as salt and on developing upstream, middle, and downstream opportunities for value addition. The potentials are huge, and the opportunities are attractive for both the Omani mining sector in general and MDO specifically.

How do you assess the technical abilities to develop the sector?
The country has identified mining as one of the strategic sectors for the country diversification strategy. Therefore, many initiatives and plans were put to activate the sector and unleash its potential; however, there is a strong emphasis on the sector's capacity to grow without adequate caliber to support this growth. Therefore, the sector is striving to attract the international mining know-how beside the financial resources. Oman is blessed with well-educated and passionate human resources that are looking for an opportunity to prove themselves. The mining sector can absorb these talents and nurture them across the value chain. In this regard, MDO is seen as an important enabler of the government achieving not only its economic diversification vision and objectives, but also a driving vehicle to attract state-of-the-art technologies, as well as build local capabilities for sustainable mining industries.