Oman Chromite Company, partly owned by the Omani government represented by Minerals Development Oman (MDO), has announced a record production of 105,992 tonnes of chromite ore during 2022, representing a 134 per cent increase over the previous year’s total of 45,194 tonnes.
Board Chairman Humaid bin Masoud al Maqbali attributed the uptick to the company’s ramp-up mining and exploration activities across its licenses.
“The company was also able to achieve good exploratory results in 2022 through the development of the exploration department and the use of modern technologies, which enabled it to increase production during the year. It is also expected that the company's exploratory efforts in the current sites in 2022 will result in achieving a good level of production and profitable returns in 2023,” Al Maqbali stated in the Directors’ Report for fiscal 2022.
Revenue from the sale of chromite ore surged 155 per cent to RO 4.5 million in 2022, up from RO 2.9 million in 2021. Net profit after tax also soared to RO 1.384 million for the year, up from RO 0.369 million a year earlier.
Significantly, 72 per cent of chromite ore marketed by the company last year went to local consumers, chiefly ferrochrome smelters operating in the Suhar area. The balance, typically refractory grade of chromite ore, was exported to international markets in light of the limited size of the domestic market, according to Al Maqbali.
The Chairman also lamented the “lack of reserve” that threatens to be one of the main risks facing Oman Chromite. “Accordingly, the company continues to work on several directions to ensure growth in the level of its reserves. The company continues its efforts to obtain new mining areas, communicate with decision makers, and develop plans to keep pace with developments in establishing new mining areas,” he said.
Last June, MDO – the nation’s mining and mineral processing flagship which owns a 15 per cent stake in Oman Chromite – announced the signing of an agreement between the two for the joint exploration and prospection of chromite ore at two exploration sites located in the Governorates of Al Batinah North and Al Buraimi.
Further returns are expected from Oman Chromite’s investment in a new low-carbon ferrochrome project that is presently under construction in Sohar Port and Free Zone. The plant is due to come into operation during 2023.