Strategic partner sought for Oman potash project

Muscat, April 14 – Gulf Mining Group, one of Oman’s largest privately owned mining corporations, says it will shortly commence the process of scouting the international market for a “strategic partner” to support the development of its Sulphate of Potash (SOP) project — the first of its kind in the Sultanate. The move comes as Gulf Mining Group prepares to wrap up a bankable feasibility study imperative to the goal of securing the necessary funding for the estimated $300 million project, according to Mohammed Yahya al Shabibi (pictured), Vice Chairman.
“We are close to completing our bankable feasibility study, and will soon start looking for a strategic partner to join us,” said Al Shabibi. “The strategic partner will support us with the technical know-how, as well as in the marketing of our output. Our focus right now is to make it attractive for the right strategic partner to join us.”
Gulf Mining’s goal is to commercialise potentially prodigious potassium chloride deposits located at shallow depths in the remote Um al Samim desert in the far west of the Sultanate. Plans drawn up by Gulf of Potassium Mining LLC, a subsidiary of Gulf Mining Group, envisage the development of a processing plant at site.
Also proposed in the second phase is a blending plant that will be built at Duqm Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to convert potassium chloride into Sulphate of Potash (SOP), a premium quality fertiliser product used the world over primarily in the cultivation of high value crops like fruits, vegetables, nuts, coffee, tea and tobacco. SOP, with its potassium and sulphur components, enjoys a competitive edge over the more commonly available Muriate of Potash (MOP) type of fertiliser in world markets.
An international consultant enlisted by Gulf of Potassium Mining LLC is currently assisting the company in fine-tuning the value proposition behind this mega venture, said Al Shabibi. “We spent the last years making a qualitative assessment of the mineral resources in our licence in Um al Samim. Unfortunately, for want of suitably equipped laboratories in the wider region, we have had to send samples to the United States for testing — which cost us some time. But the pace is expected to pick up, going forward.”
Last year, Gulf Mining Group announced that it had secured a licence to explore for potassium chloride deposits as raw material for the Sulphate of Potash (SOP) project.