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New $225m carbon anode project to come up at Sohar Freezone

Sanvira Carbon’s calcined petroleum coke plant at Sohar Freezone.
Sanvira Carbon’s calcined petroleum coke plant at Sohar Freezone.

MUSCAT: Adding to Sohar Freezone’s increasingly diverse metals cluster, a land lease agreement was signed last week for the establishment of a first-of-its-kind project that will manufacture prebaked carbon anodes for the global aluminium smelting industry. Total investment in the venture is estimated at $225 million.

According to details shared by Sohar Freezone authorities, Sanvira Tech SFZ – a partnership of Omani and Indian investors – will develop the facility on a 155,000 m2 site at the free zone. At full capacity, the plant will manufacture around 300,000 tonnes per annum of prebaked carbon anodes for markets in the GCC, Europe and India.

Announcing the signing in a post, Sohar Port and Freezone said: “On the sidelines of the Suhar Investment Forum, we are pleased to announce that Sanvira Tech SFZ signed a land lease agreement with Sohar Freezone to establish a plant which will produce a prebaked anode that consumed in electrolysis process that is critical for aluminum production. It’s an exciting milestone for our flourishing metals cluster, and proves, once again, the competitiveness of Sohar Freezone in bringing in new investments linked to the downstream of these industries.” Anodes are described as large carbon blocks used to conduct electricity during the aluminium reduction process. Typically made from crushed calcined petroleum coke and liquid pitch, they are formed into rectangular blocks and baked. Attached to steel rods, these anode blocks are suspended in an electrolytic cell, where they are slowly consumed in the aluminium smelting process.

Significantly, the new project will be built downstream of a calcined petroleum coke plant that was launched at Sohar Freezone in November 2022 with an investment of around $156 million (RO 60 million). That project was developed by Sanvira Carbon (FZC), a joint venture between India’s Sanvira Industries, Oman National Investment Development Company (Tanmia) and Omani chemicals manufacturing firm United Business Trading (UBT). With a production capacity of around 600,000 tonnes per annum of calcined petroleum coke, the plant is ranked among the largest of its kind in the region.

The upcoming investment by affiliate Sanvira Tech will help boost value creation from the calcined petroleum coke project. Already, the new company has secured international offtake commitments covering part of its future output.

Last November, the Norwegian headquartered global aluminium smelting giant Hydro said it had signed an agreement with Sanvira Tech covering up to a quarter of the annual requirements of carbon anodes of its Norwegian smelters for a period of 8 years.

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