Gulf Mining’s pilot potash project to start operation in 2018

Business Monday 09/October/2017 17:08 PM
By: Times News Service
Gulf Mining’s pilot potash project to start operation in 2018

Muscat: A pilot project to produce potash, which will be developed by Gulf Mining Group, is expected to start operation next year.
Gulf Mining Group is looking at a pilot plant to produce 20-40 tonnes of premium grade potash, similar to one of the peer groups in Australia.
“The capital expenditure for the pilot project is around $20 million to $40 million and we are looking at engaging Amec Foster Wheeler to conduct a feasibility study for the pilot plant in Oman,” Thomas Sinclair, managing director of Gulf Mining Group, said on the sidelines of second annual conference on Mining Investment Middle East & Central Asia.
Sinclair said that the company has to conduct a feasibility study for starting fully fledged commercial project, which is expected in 2022. The company has conducted a study on the project few years ago.
Gulf Mining Group has already applied for a license to start mining, which is under final stage of approval. Public Authority for Mining issues licenses for mines in Oman.
The commercial venture of ‘Sulphate of Potash (SOP)’ project, which is planned in Duqm, will produce 500,000 tonnes per annum, which can be scaled up to one million tonnes over a period of time.
While potash mining is envisaged in central Oman, where abundant reserves of the mineral have been found, brine extraction and initial processing is planned at Umm As Samim. The downstream component of the venture, however, will be established in the Duqm Special Economic Zone where the potash will be blended with sulphur to produce Sulphate of Potash.
The mining will be conducted in an area of 3,200 square kilometers, overlapping block 62’s second phase expansion area and wholly on block 6. The Umm As Sammim deposit is also in an area close to Saudi-Oman border. Potassium chloride contained near surface Brine, and the extraction will be by using hydro-geological pumping.
The estimated reserve is in excess of 40 million tonnes and the capital investment will be in the range of $300-$500 million. The processing plant will require 205,000 tonnes of sulphur per annum.
The project will create 500 direct jobs and in excess of 1,000 indirect jobs.
In fact, similar proven projects are in operation and development in various parts across the globe.
The Duqm Port is located 500km away from the proposed mines and the port facility will be advantageous for the project.
Gulf Mining Group is the largest chromium producer in Oman, with a total production of 400,000 tonnes per annum. The company also produces maganese, marble, gypsum and limestone. The group has employee strength of more than 1,000 workers, spread in 12 countries.
There was a panel discussion on changing dynamics of mining industry at the Mining Investment Middle East & Central Asia Conference, which was organised by Spire Events.