Plan for new Wusta Cement project makes headway

MUSCAT, JULY 29 – Consultants appointed by the two principal partners behind plans for the establishment of a major cement plant in Duqm have submitted a draft of their feasibility study into the project.
Oman Cement Company and Raysut Cement Company, the Sultanate’s two main cement manufacturers, have set up a joint venture to explore the feasibility of setting up a large cement plant at the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Duqm.
Al Wusta Cement LLC, the new JV, will not only seek to meet the infrastructure requirements of investors setting up operations in Duqm, but will also target export markets in the Middle East, East Africa and the Indian sub-continent.
“The consultant appointed to prepare the feasibility report for the joint venture company, Al Wusta Cement LLC, has submitted the draft report, which is under review by the company and the joint venture partners,” said Dr Abdullah Abbas Ahmed, Chairman of the Board of Oman Cement (OCC) — one of the joint venture partners, in the half yearly report of OCC’s financial performance.
The JV is seeking to partially offset a widening deficit in domestic capacity that currently leaves the Sultanate dependent on imports for an astonishing 54 per cent of its total requirement of cement. Tanfeedh — the National Programme for Enhancing Economic Diversification — is mooting the establishment of a cement manufacturing hub in Duqm to plug this shortfall through investments in as many as three new cement plants in the SEZ.
Tanfeedh’s proposals call for the development of two cement plants each of a capacity of 3 million tonnes per annum, and a white cement plant initially of 300,000 metric tonnes per annum dedicated primarily for export. Also proposed are cement grinding plants in Duqm and Suhar.
Given Duqm’s positioning as an export-oriented hub, other investors have also announced tentative plans to cement-related investments in the SEZ. Recently, Muscat-based Al Anwar Holdings Co announced that it had entered into a shareholders’ agreement with Iranian cement producer Hormozgan Cement Co (HCC) to set up a cement grinding unit in the SEZ. Hormuz Al Anwar Cement SAOC, the new JV, plans to set up a plant with a capacity ranging from 600,000-1,000,000 metric tonnes per annum with an investment of around RO 10.5 million.

Conrad Prabhu