By: Conrad Prabhu
MUSCAT: Australian-based minerals exploration and mine development company Alara Resources Limited has announced that its Omani joint venture has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mawarid Mining LLC, a prominent Omani mining firm, aimed at processing around one million tonnes of copper/gold ore from the Washibi deposit in north Oman.
The MoU was inked by Al Hadeetha Resources LLC, a joint venture between Alara Resources (70 per cent) and local partner Al Hadeetha Investments LLC (30 per cent), which owns the promising Washihi copper-gold prospect. Mawarid Mining, part of the well-diversified MB Holding Group of the Sultanate, owns and operates Oman’s only Copper Concentrator Plant at Lasail, around 35 km from Sohar Port.
The MoU commits the two sides to work collaboratively on optimising a plan for the development of the Washihi copper-gold deposit, billed as the largest copper resource in the Sultanate to date. The ultimate goal is to achieve the processing of a nominal one million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of copper-gold ore sourced from this deposit.
A development plan envisaged by Alara Resources calls for the copper-gold ore to be mined, crushed and processed through a heavy media separation (HMS) plant proposed to be built on site. The upgraded ore is then proposed to be treated at the Lasail copper processing plant under a toll arrangement.
Alara Resources, for its part, also plans to commission a limited feasibility study aimed at, among other things, refining the geotechnical parameters of the deposit in order to optimise the mine design and development. A tender for the feasibility study will close by the end of this month, it said.
Also as part of the mine development plan, Alara aims to invest in mining, primary crushing and heavy media separation infrastructure. The upgraded ore is proposed to be transported by truck to Lasail, around 375 km away.
“This (MoU) is focused at ensuring both parties reach a detailed understanding and optimisation of the integrated production plan between the Washihi deposit and the Lasail Processing Plant The period of this defined toll treatment period is five years with an extension to this period if agreed by the parties. There is also agreement between the parties to include the Al Hadeetha/Mawarid collaboration into a broader Oman consolidated copper strategy and plan if and when this proves to be the most effective way forward in the country. The MoU will also progress to a formal Toll Treatment Agreement through the (feasibility study) completion programme,” said Alara Resources in a statement.
SOURCE: OMAN DAILY OBSERVER