Oman plans internal rail network for mining sector

Oman Monday 13/February/2017 21:37 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman plans internal rail network for mining sector

Muscat: An internal rail network for the use of the mining industry is the new focus of the Oman Global Logistics Group (OGL) even as the joint GCC rail project has come to a stop, the OGL chief has said.
Abdulrahman Al Hatmi, the CEO of OGL, said they will focus on setting up two rail networks internally for the mining industry.
“We were ready to connect with the GCC network but unfortunately, due to certain development issues related to our neighbour, work on this has been suspended and it has affected the contracts we had. Also, the employees have lost jobs as a result,” said Al Hatmi.
“Therefore, we are now focused on an internal network for the mining industry which will have two routes. The first will connect the Sohar Port and Dank, while the second will connect Thumrait, Shuwaimiya and Duqm,” he added.
He said if the neighbouring GCC states resume work on the Gulf rail network, Oman will be ready to commence the connection from Sohar.
Al Hatmi explained that the rail project for the mining industry will be viable if it focuses on the trade in Gypsum stones which accounts for 6 percent of the Indian market. The gypsum stone is produced in Salalah.
“We studied the markets in some of the countries and found that gypsum and geely were not in high demand. Experts said the global market is slow, which is true. However, we are aiming to corner 6 percent of the Indian market trade,” said Al Hatmi.
“This will make the rail project economically viable and it would not need support,” he added.
Discussing the future of the rail project, Al Hatmi said they needed a mechanism to highlight a strategy to push forward.
“The only thing the rail network needs is a clear development strategy in the mining sector,” he said.
“One needs to ensure that mining reserves are available and documented and a mechanism to extract these reserves is in place,” Al Hatmi explained. It is unclear when the rail project will commence but Al Hatmi stressed that the group is in talks with responsible authorities to expedite it.