Our story begins with a question: What happened to the mining industry in Oman?
Copper was massively exploited in Oman for nearly 4,000 years. In 1981, Oman Mining Company LLC (OMCO) was established as a state-owned mining operator, based in Sohar with the aim to develop resources and produce various minerals and aggregate including copper, gold, silver, chromite, limestone, and silica.
From 1983 to 1994, OMCO processed copper ore from its own mines producing 19 200 000 tons of ore and 143 000 tons of copper cathode and gold as a by-product. Gold was also successfully mined in Rakka and Bishara between 1994 and 2009.
However, the mining operations left large contaminated areas behind, causing harm to humans, animals and the environment. The environmental impact assessment study carried out by OMCO in 2013 and the Paris Agreement ratification from 2016 and its stringent environmental requirements finally led to the suspension of copper production operations in Oman in 2016, after gold mining had already been suspended in 2009.
What we saw were the remnants of a great area, which prompted us to ask a further question: What can we do to help the mining industry to return, and how can we do that? After visiting the sites the answer became clear: we had to clean up contaminated sites, financing it by turning the residuals into value, and find new environmentally friendly technologies not only for mining residuals remediation and surface mining, but also for conventional mining.
OMCO recognized at that point that a new approach was required to further develop mining as a key industry for Oman and founded GTMS as the special purpose vehicle to make copper and gold mining widely acceptable again in the Sultanate and transform the future of the industry.