Oman has recently opened up exploration with the granting of nine exploration tenements in the well known, under explored, Semail Ophiolite belt. The Sohar Region in northern Oman has a history of copper mining in the volcanic rocks belonging to the Semail Ophiolite dating back to the Bronze Age. Mining companies have continued to operate in the district and have discovered approximately 44 M tonnes of 1-2% Cu in three key deposits. The ophiolite belt hosts VMS style deposits which are believed to have formed around active hydrothermal vents and black smokers on a mid-ocean ridge. More than 150 massive sulphide prospects have been discovered along the 500 km strike length of the Semail Ophiolite and are very similar in morphology, ore type, mineralogy, and geochemistry as those found in Cyprus.
Kenex used geological, geochemical and geophysical data to determine the prospectivity of the Northern Semail Ophiolite Belt for VMS copper-gold mineralisation using the weights of evidence spatial modelling technique. The weights of evidence model was created using predictive maps that represent all the stages of the mineral system model (source, pathway, trap, and deposition). The predictive maps used in the modelling were chosen as having the best regional coverage and a significant spatial association with known mineral occurrences. The model identified more than seventy target zones, nine of these are existing mines or current operations and the remaining targets are of previously un-identified mineralisation potential. These remaining targets are currently being followed up by clients with access to the modelling to prioritise geophysical and drilling programmes.
In addition to the GIS based prospectivity modelling, economic modelling of the output targets allowed the explorers to take into account financial cost and potential return on their exploration targets. This was done by calculating the exploration risk by combining the geological probability of success with the cost of exploration and reward from development. This economic modelling allowed the identification of the highly prospective targets that have the best returns in an exploration portfolio and has allowed the explorers to selectively increase or decrease their holdings to maximise exploration expenditure.
Our modelling has shown that VMS copper-gold mineralisation remains an attractive economic target for exploration in Oman. Other models for minerals and metals related to the Ophiolite belt are currently in progress and will be used to target new business opportunities and expand current businesses.
During the early part of 2016, several of our team were heavily involved with a large country-wide database development and prospectivity analysis project in Oman. A number of commodities were modelled and for several of the lower value bulk commodities (e.g. limestone and silica sand) economic and infrastructure spatial analyses were also performed to determine which known deposits and exploration opportunities would be most beneficial in project portfolio.