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Oman’s latest ferrochrome project starts trial operations at SOHAR Freezone

A new low-carbon ferrochrome project has commenced trial operations at SOHAR Freezone, bolstering Oman’s credentials as a regional ferrochrome production powerhouse.


Gulf Alloys and Metals (FZC) LLC began a trial run of its 10,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) capacity ferrochrome alloy plant at the free zone last month, according to a key shareholder in the venture.


Oman Chromite, a publicly traded company, which has a 20% shareholding in Gulf Alloys and Metals, said the eventual commercialization of the project – anticipated during the current year – is anticipated to spur the company’s annual revenue growth.


Set up on a 37,000 m2 site at the free zone, Gulf Alloys & Metals’ $9 million-worth plant utilizes chrome ore and calcined lime, sourced from local producers, to produce low-carbon ferrochrome – an alloy of iron and chromium used primarily for stainless steel production.


The alloy is extensively used in the manufacture of parts for airplanes, automobiles, consumer electronics, and Oil & Gas hardware, among other types of equipment and machinery, making it a pivotal commodity for further value addition through downstream investments in SOHAR among other locations in Oman.


Low carbon ferrochrome blended with silicon metal also has wide applications in the production of special steels for the aerospace, oil and gas and automotive industries.


Significantly, the project is the latest in a burgeoning cluster of industries operating in the production of ferrochrome and related alloys, effectively reinforcing the free zone’s reputation as a leading manufacturing hub for such alloys.


Another investor, Safe Alloys, is also developing a 16,500 tpa capacity low-carbon ferrochrome plant at SOHAR Freezone with an investment of around $18 million. The company had signed a sharia-compliant financing agreement with a local lender to help fund the construction of the project. Output from the plant, when operational, is earmarked for export to Europe, the United States, South Korea, Japan and India.


Ferrochrome smelting in SOHAR Freezone began in 2013 when Al Tamman Indsil Ferrochrome LLC, a joint venture of Muscat Overseas Group and Indsil Group of India, brought its 75,000 tpa high carbon ferrochrome smelter into operation that year. It was the first ferroalloy production in Oman and the first ferrochrome plant in the GCC. The plant is currently powered by a captive solar power generation facility.








Oman Daily Observer