A ferro-alloy smelter plant of Indsil at Palakkad, Kerala, India

A ferro-alloy smelter plant of Indsil at Palakkad, Kerala, India

JV expects $175m revenues

Oman’s good reserves of chrome ore have prompted the setting up of a pioneering venture in Freezone Sohar with an Indian company with experience in the ferro-alloy field

October 2012

A ferro-chrome joint venture plant coming up in Freezone Sohar is expected to yield revenues of $175 million annually after both its phases are completed, a top official of the Indian partner in the venture told Gulf Industry.

Vinod Narsiman, managing director of the Coimbatore (South India)-based energy and metallurgy group Indsil, which is in an equal partnership with Muscat Overseas Group to set up the Sohar plant, also said no offtake arrangements had been finalised yet for the plant’s products. “However talks are going on with various agencies across the globe for marketing and off-take arrangements,” he said. Phase 1 is expected to become fully operational by April 2013.

The official dampened hopes of an early project for a manganese smelter in Oman telling this magazine that manganese ore reserves in Oman were “sketchy in nature and availability is in pockets.”

“As of now a conclusion is not possible in terms of the economic viability of producing manganese alloys in Oman.” Muscat Overseas Group’s wholly owned subsidiary Al Tamman Trading Establishment LLC has a manganese-ore bearing concession in Minthrib, Oman’s eastern region. Last year Indsil said it was looking into the possibility of a manganese venture with Muscat Overseas Group.

The ferro-chrome smelter named Al Tamman Indsil Ferrochrome LLC is expected to have a Phase 1 two-furnace capacity of 75,000 tonnes per year. The project cost of the entire project when an additional two furnaces are installed in Phase 2 will be approximately $70 million.

 “The ferrochrome plant has been designed keeping in view globally best practices and best standards in terms of environment management. The company is setting up a world-class gas cleaning plant adopting the best technologies, and emission standards would be significantly better than any ferrochrome producing region in the world,” said Narsiman. “The environmental control technology and equipment is being adopted and built without any compromise on capital spent to ensure that globally best standards in terms of environment are being maintained.”

Europe and Japan are primary target markets while the US is also seen as a significant region.

“Oman has good reserves of medium-grade chrome ore. Traditionally this ore has been exported and no attempts have been made to add value to the ore,” Narsiman said. “Our company and the project would be a pioneering effort in terms of adding value to the minerals available within the country. The value addition measures would bring in significant employment to the region, both direct and indirect and will also showcase Oman as a reliable alternative in terms of the ferrochrome producing regions of the world.

In India, Indsil Group has three ferro-alloy smelters, a hydro-electric power plant and a coal-fired thermal power plant.

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