During the Oman Mining Expo 2019 which is currently held at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer, Head of the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech and Prof Dr. Frank Mattern from Sultan Qaboos University gave a presentation entitled: ‘Current Situation and Future Direction of the Mineral Resources Education in Oman’.
“With a growing mineral resources industry in Oman the demand for well-trained graduates and post-graduates in the field of geosciences will increase over the next years” said Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer. Therefore, applied geoscientists play a key role through the lifetime of a mining project that can take up to 20 years. Graduates in Applied Geosciences as well as specialist in Economic Geology, Geophysics, Geochemistry, and Geoengineering will have ample opportunities in the mining sector.
Over the next 5 years, approximately 70-80 graduates will graduate from both universities in Oman each year. According to internal surveys conducted at GUtech , up to 30% of these graduates consider continuing with Master studies abroad or in Oman. However, this number strongly depends on the availability of financial support for Master degrees. In countries with a developed mining industry, e.g. in the United States, the ratio between academically trained workforce in the mineral industry is 1 PhD-holder versus 2.2 Masters versus 6.5 Bachelor graduates. Taking into consideration that Oman’s basement is still underexplored, it is recommended that a high number of post-graduates can adjust standard mining methods and develop exploration programmes in largely greenfield settings.
“From a higher education perspective, a lack of mining engineers has been identified. This could be a bottleneck for future developments of the industry. During the last years, global employment rates of mining engineers were above 95% which means there are limited open job opportunities on the global job market. From the side of the job seekers, Omani graduates are currently focusing on jobs in the oil and gas industry. It will be a challenge to create more interest in jobs in the mineral industry and attract the brightest minds” said Prof. Wilfried Bauer.
Currently only two higher education institutions in Oman, Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) and the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), provide advanced education for the mining industry. The education in the mineral resource sector covers principal courses in Mineralogy, Mineral Resources and Mineral Exploration at the bachelor level. Courses in Ore Mineralogy, Orebody Modelling, Mineral Production & Processing are part of a recently introduced or running Master curricula at GUtech.
The objective of the two-day mining conference is to provide a venue for the industry as well as regulators to discuss various issues and challenges as well as to explore emerging opportunities and latest developments in Oman’s mining and minerals sector.