Vale Sohar plant achieves full capacity
Sohar, Oman, March 4, 2012
Vale, a global diversified mining company, has achieved full production capacity of 9 million tons per year of direct-reduction pellets at its $1.36 billion industrial complex in the Port of Sohar.
By creating a ‘virtual iron ore mine’, the company’s operations in Oman will contribute to solidifying the country’s frontier market status and competitiveness in the global economy as a base for integrated steel production in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, including India, said a statement.
Vale today officially opened the distribution center and pelletizing plant at Sohar.
The company’s operations in Oman employ 1,200 people of which 450 are Vale direct employees and 750 are contractors working on site, with another 3,120 jobs generated indirectly. The company has achieved an Omanization rate of more than 60 per cent amongst its direct employees.
Vale’s Industrial Complex comprises two pelletizing units, each with a nominal production capacity of 4.5 million metric tons of direct-reduction pellets per year, and a distribution centre with a throughput capacity of 40 million metric tons per year.
The company’s first production line commenced operations in April 2011, successfully supplying pellets to key steel producers in the region.
To maximise its distribution centre capabilities, Vale partnered with Sohar Industrial Port Company to build a 1.4 km deep-water terminal. This terminal is one of the first ports in the world to receive Very Large Ore Carriers (VLOCs) that boast a capacity of 400,000 tons and are responsible for transporting the world’s purest iron ore from Brazil to the shores of the Sultanate.
The pelletizing plant and distribution centre in Oman, together with a floating transfer station in Subic Bay in the Philippines, a distribution centre and port under construction in Malaysia and the VLOCs, are part of Vale’s strategy to increase its flexibility and competitiveness in serving the world’s fastest growing markets, on an equal footing with its closest competitors.
“We have a solid commitment to Oman,” said Vale president and CEO, Murilo Ferreira. “We have joined forces with the government, the private sector and the community where we operate to catalyze sustainable development. At each stage, we ensure that our relationships with our partners are based on transparency, respect and trust.”
Vale has invested $40 million in technologies to reduce the project’s environmental impact, such as electrostatic precipitators and a 3,150 meter wind fence to control particulate matter emissions. The site also has a continuous emissions monitoring system and 100 per cent of the water used is recycled, the company said.
To augment its highly efficient logistics system, Vale has signed an agreement with Oman Shipping Company to build four chartered ships exclusively for the company’s use. Two vessels are scheduled to become operational by mid 2012 while the other two by the end of 2012.
“Over the last 41 years, Oman has established itself as a unique development model amongst its neighbours,” said Marcos Beluco, Vale’s country manager. “His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s Vision 2020 is based on self-sustained growth in a private sector-led and export-oriented economy. In line with this vision, we have created a virtual iron ore mine in the Sultanate that will support its steel intensive phase of economic development and serve the growing demand in the region.”
Beluco explained that Vale is dedicated to realising the nation’s efforts to significantly reduce its dependence on oil by diversifying economic resources. The company’s pelletizing plant and distribution centre will assist in creating a natural pull for downstream industries, attracting large multi-national companies to the region which will in turn provide a greater incentive for service industries to capitalise on the Sultanate’s competitive advantage, he said.
Approximately $420 million worth of contracts were awarded to local companies during the construction phase as part of the company’s promise to invest in the development of its local supply chain. -TradeArabia News Service
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