Oman sovereign fund, others plan $260 mln mining venture

MUSCAT, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Oman’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, the State General Reserve Fund (SGRF), plans to cooperate with other state and private investors to establish a venture to buy into the mining industry, officials said on Tuesday.

The venture, Mining Development Oman (MDO), will have 100 million rials ($260 million) of capital and establish vehicles for its investments in various locations, the SGRF’s executive president Abdulsalam Al Murshidi told Reuters.

Three other state bodies, the Oman Investment Fund, Oman Oil Co, and Oman National Investments Development Co, will combine with the SGRF to take a total 60 percent stake in MDO.

“Forty percent of the company will be offered to the public. The IPO (initial public offer) is expected by the end of quarter two,” Murshidi said.

He said MDO would be a partial investor in mining projects, seeking partners locally, regionally, and internationally, but did not elaborate on where the projects would be located or give other details.

With its state finances strained by low oil prices, Oman is trying to involve the private sector more in major economic development projects. Last week it announced a five-year economic plan that is to make heavy use of public-private partnerships, with 52 percent of total investment to come from the private sector during the period. (Reporting by Fatma Alarimi; Writing by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Louise Heavens)