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Bright prospects for stainless steel, copper projects

Sohar Port and Freezone (SOHAR) has invited local and international investors to consider opportunities for investment downstream of its thriving, multibillion-dollar metals cluster currently centred around iron and steel production, and ferrochrome and aluminium smelting.

At a joint webinar organised by the port in partnership with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), SOHAR representatives highlighted investment opportunities in three specific metals-related processing activities: stainless steel manufacturing, copper concentration and processing, and aluminium downstream processing. SOHAR Commercial Officer Mohammed al Kindi noted that feedstock from the industrial port’s metals cluster, combined with the abundant availability of key minerals, represent attractive opportunities for metals-based downstream investments in SOHAR. “Oman has an abundance of metal deposits ready to be mined and processed; SOHAR is already an established and developed metals cluster.

There are multiple opportunities to join this sector and to develop downstream activities based on the upstream investments we currently have,” Al Kindi stated. Particularly promising, he said, is the potential for stainless steel manufacturing capacity – the absence of which currently leaves the Sultanate of Oman dependent on imports estimated at around 500,000 tons of stainless steel products annually. With iron/steel and ferrochrome – two key ingredients in the production of stainless steel – presently produced in sizable quantities within SOHAR, investments in a stainless steel plant would make good business sense, he noted. Brazilian miner Vale’s iron ore processing complex at Sohar Port can be a source of iron ore pellets for any stainless steel plant, while Al Tamman IndSil – which operates a 75,000 tons per annum (TPA) capacity ferrochrome smelter at the free zone – can supply the required ferrochrome, he explained. Additionally, the Sultanate of Oman is endowed with chromite ore and iron ore mines, which can be exploited for the required feedstock to supply any stainless steel project planned at SOHAR, Al Kindi pointed out. Equally prospective are opportunities for investment in copper concentration activities in SOHAR, said the official.

A concentrator project, he said, will prove valuable in processing raw copper ore generated from copper mines located in North Al Batinah Governorate, among other locations, in line with the government’s localisation objectives. With exports of copper ore curtailed by authorities with a view to supporting In-Country Value (ICV) creation, a copper concentration plant represents a promising investment opportunity, he said. Concentration will result in the production of copper ingots, which can either be exported or offered to downstream industries for further processing into wires or other copper products – activities that will contribute to job creation and GDP growth, he further noted. Likewise, hot metal or ingots from Sohar Aluminium’s giant smelter at SOHAR can serve as feedstock for a range of downstream applications, such as automotive parts and wheels (for transportation), aluminium cans (for packaging), oil and gas equipment, and machinery said Al Kindi. Sohar Aluminium currently allocates a sizable proportion of its hotel metal output to a range of downstream plants operating in the vicinity of the smelter.
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  • #copperprojects
  • #SOHAR
  • #Oman
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