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Feasibility study to build copper processing plant in Oman

Mineral ore will be extracted from deposits discovered in the Washihi and Daris areas. (Image source: TZorn/WikimediaCommons)

Australia-based minerals exploration and mining development company Alara Resources Limited has announced the formal launch of a study into the feasibility of establishing a copper-gold processing plant in Oman

Alara Resources Limited revealed that it is also weighing a proposal submitted by a large, vertically integrated mining, engineering and construction firm for the establishment of a copper-gold processing plant at Washihi. The proposal consists of a complex of facilities that includes a concentrator valued at US$15mn, a crushing plant of a capacity of one million tonnes per annum and processing capacity of 800,000 tonnes per annum.

The initiative builds on an advancing scoping study that was completed in April this year, according to the company.

?In light of the commitment to deliver the feasibility study within four months, the recent mining and construction proposal, and improved project economics, a decision to progress the feasibility study in earnest has now been taken,? the company stated, adding that the feasibility study is due to be completed in four months.

The study, along with a series of earlier investigations underlined the economics of the project even at current prices averaging around US$5,000 per tonne of copper, and US$1,100 per ounce of gold, the Australian firm said in a statement.

Also known as the Washihi/Daris Copper Gold Project, the initiative centres on a proposal to process mineral ores extracted from deposits discovered in the Washihi and Daris areas of the Dhakhiliyah and Batinah North governorates respectively in the sultanate.

An assessment of the larger Washihi prospect pegged the mineral potential of the resources at an indicated 6.84mn tonnes of ore bearing 0.90 per cent copper and 0.17 grams/tonnes of gold, and an inferred 7.27mn tonnes bearing 0.71 per cent copper and 0.20 grams/tonne of gold.

Measured and indicated estimates of the Daris Prospects comprise 240 kg tonnes of sulphide ore at 2.37 per cent copper and 183 kg tonnes of oxide ore at 0.72 per cent copper respectively.

Alara Resources Limited has joint venture interests in a total of four copper-gold exploration licenses extending over 692 sq km, collectively referred to as the Washihi/Daris Project. The Washihi project comprises three prospects/exploration licenses namely Washihi, Mullaq and Al Ajal, totalling around 105 sq km. The company also has a 70 per cent interest in Al Hadeetha Resources, the holder of the mineral licenses for Washihi.

The Daris Project, on the other hand, comprises one exploration licence Block 7 of around 587 sq km. Alara Resources Limited has a 50 per cent interest in the joint venture Daris Resources LLC, with a right to earn up to 70 per cent, which holds the exclusive right to manage, operate and commercially exploit the exploration licence.