Oman’s Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology (MTCIT) has announced the launch of a competitive tender for the award of a contract for the construction and operation of a pier dedicated to the handling of minerals at Manji in Dhofar Governorate.
The project will enable the large-scale commercial development of the prodigious reserves of gypsum and other industrial minerals found in the pier’s hinterland, a sprawling area encompassing the Wilayat of Shaleem and Al Halaniyat Islands in the southeast of the Sultanate of Oman.
Interested local and international companies with proven experience in port development and operation have been invited to bid for the Ministry’s contract to design, build, operate, manage and maintain the proposed Mining Pier at Manji overlooking the Arabian Sea.
Locally roughly midway between the well-established ports of Duqm (Al Wusta Governorate) and Salalah (Dhofar Governorate), the proposed Mining Pier at Manji will enable, on the one hand, the cost-effective export of industrial minerals like gypsum to international markets, and on the other, the transportation of these raw materials to processing plants located elsewhere within Oman. The latter option is in line with government policy espousing in-country mineral processing to support employment-generating and value-creating downstream investment opportunities.
Among the key beneficiaries of the Mining Pier initiative is expected to be state-owned Minerals Development Oman (MDO), currently the biggest player in the country’s mining and mineral processing industry.
Last year, MDO – part of Oman Investment Authority (OIA) – affirmed plans to proceed with the development of its Shaleem Industrial Minerals Project targeting the commercialisation of prodigious industrial minerals in the Wilayat of Shaleem and Al Halaniyat Islands.
MDO’s concession covers a sprawling 1,500 sq km area found to hold abundant quantities of gypsum (used primarily in the cement and gypsum board manufacturing industries) and high purity limestone and dolomite.
A mineral pier at Manji, MDO officials have long stressed, will open up Shaleem’s abundant gypsum resources for export to international markets, thereby solidifying the country’s current reputation as the world’s biggest exporter of the industrial mineral. Oman’s advantageous geographical location and proximity to leading importing countries also make Omani gypsum a cost-competitive export commodity, it is pointed out.
MDO also envisions opportunities for locally produced gypsum and limestone to catalyse investments in consuming industries, such as cement, steel and chemicals. The potential for an industrial cluster catering to such investments has been highlighted as well.
Interested parties have until April 6, 2023 to submit their offers in support of their bids for the Mining Pier project. (Picture for illustration only)