Muscat: Port of Duqm has started the first shipment of limestone from the port’s commercial quay.
A vessel has been loaded with 55,000 metric tonnes of limestone and has sailed to India, according to a press release.
The limestone is produced and exported by Desert Enterprises Trading and Contracting Company from a quarry located about 40 kilometres from the port and proven to have a reserve of over 200 million tonnes of product. Desert Enterprises is one of the leading mining companies in Oman. Apart from limestone, Desert Enterprises also produces and exports laterite, kaolin clay and gypsum.
Expectations are that the mine in Duqm will produce several hundreds of thousands of metric tonnes of product per month, of which a major chunk will be exported via the port. Limestone finds its primer usage in the cement and steel industry, but one can also find applications in the production of gypsum boards and glass.
“One of the major markets that the port of Duqm is aiming for is the support of the mineral industry of Oman. This first shipment is another milestone towards the port of Duqm playing a significant role in the diversification of the Omani economy and the mineral industry in particular,” Erwin Mortelmans, commercial director of the Port of Duqm, commented.
“Port of Duqm has already started successfully, the exports of dolomite, another mineral mined in the vicinity of Duqm, in February of 2016. The handling of this second commodity will obviously give an additional boost to the activity level at the port.”
Duqm Port is banking on the commercialisation of the substantial mineral resources of the Wusta Governorate to generate a sizeable chunk of the industrial hub’s cargo volumes over the long term. Port of Duqm is fully equipped to handle these volumes in a minimum operational lead time and will develop itself further to become a major international export hub for industrial minerals in the next few years.
Major investments are being planned accordingly. Given the potential for mineral-based industrial activities at Duqm, Port of Duqm’s Dry Bulk Terminal, with an indicative capacity of up to 5 million tonnes per annum, is being envisaged as part of the port’s first phase development.
Apart from dolomite and limestone, other important deposits have also been found in the vicinity of Duqm, such as gypsum, silica sand and clay.
These products are expected not only to be exported from the port, but also feed important downstream industries fully taking advantage of Duqm’s prime location in the vicinity of major shipping lanes and direct main line connectivity to its major export destinations.