By Business Reporter — MUSCAT: Feb 21: Port of Duqm has successfully started the loading of its first shipment of dolomite from the Port’s commercial quay. A vessel will be loaded with 3 grades of dolomite in the next few days, totalling a volume of 50,000 tonnes and sail to India thereafter. The dolomite is produced in a quarry located about 30 kilometres from the Port and proven to have a reserve of over 300 million tonnes of product. Expectations are that the mine will produce several hundreds of thousands of metric tons of product per month, of which the lion share will be exported via the Port. Dolomite finds its primer usage in the construction and steel industry, but one can also find applications in the production of ceramics, cement and glass.
“One of the three major markets that port of Duqm is aiming for is the support of the mineral industry of Oman. This first shipment is a key milestone towards port of Duqm playing a significant role in the diversification of the Omani economy”, Reggy Vermeulen, CEO of Port of Duqm commented.
“Having flows of minerals going through the port of Duqm is an enabler for the setting up in the mid-term of a proper mineral related industry cluster offering potentially numerous jobs for Omani’s”, he added.
Port of Duqm is fully equipped to handle these first volumes in a minimum operational lead time and will develop itself further to become a major international export hub for industrial minerals in the next few years. Apart from Dolomite, also other important deposits have been found in the vicinity of Duqm such as gypsum, silica sand and limestone. These products are expected not only to be exported from the port, but also feed important downstream industries fully taking advantage of Duqm’s prime location in the vicinity of the major shipping lanes and direct main line connectivity to its major export destinations.
Duqm Port is banking on the commercialization of the substantial mineral resources of Wusta Governorate to generate a sizeable chunk of the industrial hub’s cargo volumes over the long term.
Around a dozen types of industrial minerals are located within easy proximity of the port, offering immense opportunities for their exploitation and commercialization, say officials.
Given the potential for mineral-based industrial activities at Duqm, a Dry Bulk Terminal with an indicative capacity of up to 5 million tons per annum is envisaged as part of the port’s Phase 1 development.
Its 300-metre-long berth will allow for the simultaneously docking of at least two ships alongside.
The Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm (SEZAD), which is overseeing the development of a mammoth industrial and economic zone alongside the port, has identified the Wusta’s abundant mineral resources as the most promising for early investment and commercialization.
Their location within relative proximity of the port makes them attractive for mining, blending, ore concentration, and other basic processing activities ahead of their export, according to officials.
Mining and mineral processing investment in mining activities is expected to grow once a pipeline bringing natural gas from central Oman is operational by the year 2018. The availability of gas as a fuel in the SEZ will enable investments in mineral processing units, cement and clinker plants, glass manufacturing, and other value enhancement activities. Investors can leverage the port’s geographical location and multimodal connectivity to access markets across the Middle East, Indian sub-continent and East Africa, it is pointed out.