Potential for commercialization of Oman ‘green mineral’ resources

Potential for commercialization of Oman ‘green mineral’ resources

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Mineral ores at the heart of modern technologies driving the global energy transition can be found in abundance in the Sultanate of Oman, says the Ministry of Energy and Minerals.

Sustainable commercialisation of these ores can help unlock substantial deposits of nickel, lithium, cobalt, rare earth minerals, Platinum Group Metals (PGMs), copper, and silicon, according to Ministry Under-Secretary Eng Mohsin al Hadhrami.

“The rich geological structure of natural resources in the Sultanate of Oman provides primary resources for these technologies, ultimately contributing to the production of green energy through renewable resources. This abundance creates a connected opportunity for investing in local supply chains and industries, hence supporting sustainable development,” Al Hadhrami stated in an interview featured in the latest newsletter of the Ministry.

The official noted the potential for such “green minerals” in the manufacture of solar panels, energy storage systems, wind power turbines and other green technologies.

Notable among these strategicn minerals found in Oman are rare earth elements (REEs), which are an integral part of technologies driving energy efficiency and technology. REEs are typically associated with alkaline igneous rocks and carbonatite deposits mapped in Sal (Al Dhahirah Governorate) and Khawr Jirama (South Al Sharqiyah Governorate), according to the Ministry.

“They are crucial in the development of strong, lightweight permanent magnets for wind turbines and electric vehicles, enhancing energy conversion and storage. REEs also contribute to energy-efficient lighting, serve as catalysts for hydrogen production, and find applications in advanced batteries and certain types of solar panels,” the Under-Secretary said.

Equally promising are Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) – : Platinum (Pt), Palladium (Pd), Rhodium (Rh), Osmium (Os), Iridium (Ir) and Ruthenium (Ru) – which are associated with chromite ores distributed in multiple locations across northern parts of Oman.

Various renewable energy technologies, including solar cells and photo-detectors, use PGMs in their constituent components, according to the Ministry. PGMs like Platinum, Palladium, and Rhodium are used in catalytic converters to reduce emissions from internal combustion engines. Likewise, Platinum and Palladium serve as catalysts in hydrogen fuel cells, making them efficient and clean sources of energy. Iridium and Ruthenium find application as catalysts in electrolyzers to produce green hydrogen from water using electricity. Ruthenium-based catalysts have potential application in Carbon Capture and Storage technologies. Ruthenium compounds also enhance the performance of advanced LEDs.

Lithium, increasingly a strategic mineral linked to clean energy technologies, is associated with extensive potash deposits found in the Umm al Samim salt basin. The mineral is widely used in the production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, renewable energy storage, grid energy storage, and various portable electronic devices.

Also of significance is copper, a commercially valuable commodity found associated with Volcanogenic Massive Sulphide (VMS) deposits in Oman. Copper is widely used in electrical grids, renewable energy systems, and electric vehicles, ensuring efficient energy transmission and conversion. Copper is also employed in energy storage, heat exchangers for geothermal and solar thermal systems, and conductive coatings for solar panels.

Furthermore, Oman holds significant promise in the development of its prodigious silica resources for the production of silicon, a pivotal mineral in driving clean energy technologies. Massive deposits of quartzite and silica sand – both sources of high quality silicon – have been identified in Mahout and Qurayat, according to the Ministry.

Rounding off the list of strategic minerals awaiting commercialisation in Oman is cobalt, a metal commonly used in Electric Vehicles and renewable energy storage systems. Cobalt, along with nickel, is found associated with laterite in Ibra, Al Kamil wal Wafi and Sur.


Source: Oman Daily Observer

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