Muscat: Port of Duqm has signed an agreement with Oman Portuguese Cement Products (OPCP), partly owned by Oman's biggest cement producer Raysut Cement, to build a concrete batching unit to meet the growing demand for ready-mix for a variety of development projects coming up within the Duqm special economic zone and adjoining areas.
The concrete batching unit is coming up in a five hectare area within the Duqm industrial zone, close to the port's dedicated terminal for cement. "The company will be operating batching plant to make ready-mix to be delivered to their clients to support the activities."
"This company is the first client to sign a land lease agreement with the Port of Duqm," said Reggy Vermeulen, Commercial Director, Port of Duqm. Duqm port has plans to build a cement terminal to support the project along Duqm Port's 2.3 km-long quay wall. It appears that Raysut Cement, which acquired a 50 per cent stake in OPCP last year, will supply cement for the batching unit, probably by sea, from its Salalah plant.
The batching unit will substantially reduce the cost of this vital construction material for contractors, who are building the port, hotels, residential buildings, tourism projects and the proposed refinery and petrochemical project. Presently, the contractors have to procure their building material from far off places, which jacks up the construction cost.
Apart from the batching unit, plans are afoot to build a multi-million rial grass root cement plant at Duqm, with the promoters of the project now identifying mines for its main raw material limestone in the area.
Abundance of limestone
Limestone is found in abundance around Duqm port and an extensive geological mapping has identified two main areas, Al Safiya and Al Hydaybah, with abundant quantities of high quality limestone. The Al Safya area is located 15 kilometres west of the port and is primarily intended for the cement industry. In the Al Hydaybah area, 15-to-20 kilometres south of the port, thick layers of white limestone are present with potential for lime production. The Duqm cement project will be promoted by a well established Omani firm, which will carry out exports through Duqm port.
The project will have an envisaged production capacity of 3-4 million tonnes of cement per annum. The project aims at meeting the additional demand of cement arising from major government-supported infrastructure projects and other construction activities.
Referring to the proposed bitumen project, Vermeulen said the Port of Duqm and the company that is investing in the project are expected to finalise the negotiations for the project this week. "Now, both parties are revising the conditions and hopefully by next month, it is going to be signed," he noted.
Like the concrete batching unit, the proposed bitumen project is also expected to support the fast development of the ambitious special economic zone.