MUSCAT, OCT 7 – A key land use agreement was signed here on Thursday paving the way for the establishment of the Sultanate’s third cement plant at the Duqm Special Economic Zone (SEZ). The pact was signed by the SEZ Authority in Duqm (SEZAD) with Wusta Cement Company, a partnership of Oman Cement Company and Raysut Cement Company. The agreement was signed by Yahya bin Said al Jabri, Chairman — SEZAD; Abdullah bin Abbas bin Ahmed, Chairman of Oman Cement Company; and Ahmed bin Yousuf bin Alawi, Chairman of Raysut Cement Company.
Under the terms of the usufruct agreement, the Wusta Cement Company acquires a 500,000 sq metre plot within the Heavy Industrial Zone on lease for 50 years, renewable for a further period. Construction work on the new cement plant will commence next year with production expected to commence in 2020. Total investment in the project is estimated at RO 225 million. Capacity is envisaged at 5,000 tonnes per day of cement corresponding to a project size that will create a total of 389 jobs for Omanis and expatriates. Another option under consideration envisions an output of 10,000 tonnes per day with the potential to create 405 jobs.
The project will also open up sizable business opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) whose services will be required in, among other areas, supply of raw materials for the plant, transportation and logistics, loading and unloading, and packaging and storage. Importantly, the project will facilitate the supply of cement at competitive prices to local investors setting up all manner of industrial, commercial, tourism, residential and shopping ventures in and around Duqm. Cement requirements in the SEZ are currently met through shipments by land and sea from Muscat and Salalah. Surplus output from the project is earmarked for export to GCC markets.
Wusta Cement’s partners currently cater the bulk of Oman’s cement requirements. Oman Cement produced around 2.3 million tonnes of cement last year. Out from Raysut Cement, the largest cement producer, comprised 2.3 million tonnes from its Salalah plant, as well as 1.4 million tonnes from its subsidiary, Pioneer Cement, in Ras Al Khaimah.