Times of Oman
Nov 26, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 02:55 PM GMT
Promise of gold spurs study of rocks in Oman
May 23, 2014 | 12:00 AM
The gold bearing mineralised rock. Photo – Supplied

Muscat: A study has been initiated to scan areas potentially bearing gold and the mineralised zones of parts of the Sohar-Shinas region using satellite data.

A survey in the region between Hazma and Shinas shows the occurrence of mass sulphide deposits ranging from 4 to 6 million tonnes, with 2 per cent refined copper at a 100-metre depth. "Here, the gold enrichment in the oxide zones may amount to 0.5 MT at 1-2 g/t Au, which means that if we are processing 1 tonne of rock, we will get 1 to 2 grams of gold," said Dr Sankaran Rajendran, department of Earth Sciences at Sultan Qaboos University, who had undertaken the study. 

He also noted that recently, the discovery rates for all metals have increased due to the increase in commodity prices. "The volcanic rock formations including the Samail ophiolite (a large slab of oceanic crust that is made of volcanic rocks and ultramafic rocks from the Earth's upper mantle, which was thrust onto the continental crust as an ophiolite) in the eastern part of Oman contains significant copper-gold volcanic-associated massive sulphide mineralisation," he stated.

To find out more about the gold-potential areas, Sultan Qaboos University has initiated a study, with an OMR5,650 budget, to seek gold-potential mineralised zones in parts of the Sohar-Shinas region in Oman, using high-resolution satellite data. "Qualitative and quantitative mapping will be conducted by remote sensing and GIS, field work and Geo chemical analytical techniques. This will be followed up by generating technical reports to summarise the findings and provide suggestions," he claimed. 

The research project, which started recently, will take approximately three years to complete. "For this, we will be conducting many field visits," he said.

He also noted that mapping these gold-bearing rocks in this region is difficult and presents a challenging task to surveyors, scientists and resource analysts. "Remote sensing is the most suitable technique to apply in arid regions like Oman, where there are rock exposures over the surface and no vegetation disturbances," he added.

Dr Rajendran and his research group demonstrated the capability of satellite data in mapping rock containing chromite, manganese and copper and rocks in hydrothermal mineralised zones. "He strongly recommends the remote sensing technique and satellite data for mapping minerals and ore resources to the different ministries, mine owners, research scientists and exploration geologists for their needs in the Sultanate," he concluded.

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