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OM23_IN_MDO_Nasser Al Maqbali

OMAN - Industry

Nasser Al Maqbali

CEO, Minerals Development Oman (MDO)

Bio

Prior to being the CEO of MDO, Nasser Al Maqbali held leadership roles in both private and public sectors across Oman. With his vast knowledge and wealth of experience gained from over 30 years of service, he holds a successful track record of both defining and delivering corporate strategy. He received his undergraduate degree from Salford University (UK) and earned a master’s in civil engineering (risk management) from Adelaide University (Australia). He is a board member of several companies, including Omran Hospitality Company, Tourism and Real Estate Development Company, Duqm Frontier Town Development Company and INSOFOM Manufacturing Company. He is also the deputy chairman of Al Baleed Company.

"Geological studies and exploration campaigns are integral parts in all the MDO’s projects and business."
MDO’s mandate is to contribute to the development of the Omani mining sector and enhance its prospects so the sector can better contribute to the Sultanate’s economy.
In your own words, could you give us an overview of MDO?

MDO was established in 2017 and is owned by the Oman Investment Authority (67.8%) and the Oman National Investments Development Company (23.2%). MDO’s primary role is to invest in exploration activities, develop upstream and downstream projects targeting multiple strategic minerals. This can be realized through attracting reputable national and international mining and mineral development players to drive the commercialization of Oman’s prodigious mineral resources. MDO operates in concession areas of about 21,480sqkm close to logistics infrastructures, sources of energy, and vibrant ports. Supporting Oman’s vision 2040, MDO’s strategic objectives are geared toward creating long-term value for the Sultanate by supporting the socio-economic progress of the nation, notably through creating employment opportunities, building local capacity, promoting local content and in-country value, and GDP growth.

How do you assess the growth potential of mining industries in the Sultanate?

Oman’s mineral wealth, is distributed across its various governorates ranging from metallic to industrial minerals such as silica, gypsum, limestone, and dolomite. With the announcement of Oman’s Vision 2040, in which the Public Authority for Mining was merged with the Ministry of Oil and Gas, we immediately noticed the changes taking place in the mining sector as the ministry brought its cumulative experience in energy to the mining sector, ensuring its growth and development. In addition, the ministry sought to find a mechanism to ensure that the mineral reserves are well exploited. Thus, the mining concession areas project was launched as the investor is looking for real opportunities which can be found in large areas. Moreover, the support and facilities provided by some governmental institutions in order to facilitate the investment in the mining sector, as well as the speed of procedures, played a significant role in accelerating the development of recent mining projects.

At what stage is the research in Oman when it comes to mineral sources, and how is MDO contributing to that?

Geological studies and exploration campaigns are integral parts in all the MDO’s projects and business. The Company aims to build a comprehensive geological database through implementing geophysical airborne surveys to enhance the geological knowledge at surface and depth as well as serve as an important future reference for researchers and those interested in the fields of geology and mining. Also, MDO is collaborating with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) to study the possibility of producing salt and bromine from the hypersaline waters associated with oil production. These deep waters are found in several PDO sites, which are studied and assessed as a part of the project. MDO also is studying with its partners multiple solutions related to reduction of carbon footprint within mining sector.

What is the company’s role in creating local added value for the country?

Stimulating the downstream projects is of the main pillars of MDO’s development strategy. The Company’s policy aims to utilize extracted mineral ores by directing them to local industries and creating value- added projects. This will contribute to creating new economic opportunities and making the utmost use of natural mineral resources in the Sultanate. On top of this, MDO is directing all its human and technical capabilities and resources to contribute to the realization of Oman Vision 2040. Its strategy aims to create long-term value that contributes to supporting the social and economic progress of the Sultanate through: job creation, local capacity building, small business growth, ICV enhancement, and driving GDP growth. There are great opportunities to develop ICV programs and engage SMEs in the development of the sector which is relatively new, through implementing ICV mechanisms and standards. The company also aims to provide sufficient mineral resources to meet local requirements, contribute to enhancing the utilization of local commodities and resources, and build national capacities in order to ensure sustainable financial returns for the Sultanate in the long term.

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