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10 Jun 12 Indian firm to invest RO30m in Sohar plant

Muscat: India’s Metkore Alloys and Industries Ltd is set to build a world class 165,000 tonnes per annum capacity ferro chrome smelter project in Sohar, with an envisaged investment of RO30 million.

This is the third ferro chrome project coming up Sohar free zone, giving the much needed boost to Sohar free zone’s plans to become a steel hub in the Middle East region. Other two companies that are planning to establish similar ferro chrome projects in Sohar are Al Taman Indsil Ferro Chrome (a joint venture between Indsil Group and Muscat Overseas) and Gulf Mining Group.

The project work of Metkore is expected to start in October, with the completion of the work within 18 months. A land lease agreement was signed by Sheikh Sa’ad bin Mohammed Al Mardhouf Al Sa’adi, Chairman of Port of Sohar, and Prashant Boorugu, Managing Director of Metkore Alloys Industries, here yesterday.
Metkore is negotiating with a well-established local firm for a joint venture agreement for the ferro chrome project, but no agreement has been signed so far.

“We see an opportunity to set up a ferro chrome plant in Oman for two reasons -” the domestic availability of chrome ore and the long-term growth prospects of Oman’s economy,- Boorugu told Times of Oman, after signing the pact. He added that his company, which has been in existence for the last 29 years, is the best performer in terms of productivity and power efficiency in India. “We have our strength in technology and productivity.-

“We have started our work to get clearances from the government agencies. We probably start work to build the project in the fourth quarter of this year.- The ferro chrome plant will become operational in 2014 and is expected to generate direct employment for about 500 people.

The company has already appointed consultants to carry out technical and environmental studies for the project. Omanisation is the prime objective of the company and all efforts will be taken to train the local Omani nationals and appoint them to operate the plant profitably. Further, the low grade chrome ore available in Oman will be beneficiated and put to gainful use thereby adding value to the mineral resources available in Oman.

Neelima Vyas, Deputy CEO of Freezone Sohar, said Metkore is planning to establish its plant in an area of 22 hectares. Metkore, formerly known as Cronimet Alloys India, is a leading ferro alloy manufacturer in India with a turnover of $45 million in 2011-12. The company along with its associate companies currently operates two ferro alloy plants of capacities 15 MVA and 28 MVA in India.

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