Gulf Mining Group is looking to develop a pilot potash project that will start operations next year. The group aims to produce 20-40 tons of premium grade potash, similar to a project 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.
Mr. Sinclair added that the company was about to conduct a feasibility study for starting a new fully-fledged project with expected date in 2022. Gulf Mining Group has already applied for a license to start mining operations, which is under final stage of approval. Licenses for mining in Oman have already been issued. The commercial venture of ‘Sulphate of Potash (SOP)’ project, which is planned in Duqm, will yield half a million tons per year, which can be scaled up to one million tons over some time.
Another component of the project is to be established in the Duqm Special Economic Zone where the potash will be blended with Sulphur to produce SOP. Potash mining is planned in central Oman where abundant reserves of potash have been discovered. Initial processing of the mineral and brine extraction has been planned at Umm As Samim. The estimated reserve holds more than 40 million tons and the capital investment is estimated to be in the range of $300-$500 million. The processing plant will require 205,000 tons of sulphur per annum. The project will create 500 direct jobs and more than 1,000 indirect jobs.