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Oman Antimony Project Secures $40m Loan

Oman Antimony Project Secures $40m Loan

Antimony trioxide is mostly used as a flame retardant and a catalyst in the production of plastics.

A joint venture part-owned by Oman’s sovereign wealth fund signed a $40 million loan deal on Sunday to finance the construction of an antimony roasting facility in the Gulf state, part of its efforts to diversify the oil-dominated economy.

Strategic and Precious Metal Processing, set up in Sohar Port and Freezone on Oman’s northern coast, borrowed the money from Bank Nizwa and plans to complete the construction of the facility within 18-24 months.

Oman Investment Fund and UK-based Tri-Star Resources own 40 percent each in the venture and Dubai’s Castell Investments has a 20 percent stake. The project’s total cost is $65 million.

With a planned annual capacity of 20,000 tonnes, the plant aims to claim up to 12 percent of the global antimony market, which is currently dominated by Chinese producers, Tri-Star managing director Emin Eyi told reporters.

“Our production cost in Sohar will be by far lower than China,” Eyi said, adding that much of China’s production was going to its domestic market, meaning it had a significant potential market for its product.

Antimony trioxide is mostly used as a flame retardant and a catalyst in the production of plastics and Eyi said up to a fifth of the plant’s output could be sold in the Gulf region, which has a well-developed petrochemicals industry.

It will import raw materials from Canada, Australia, Turkey, and other African and Asian countries.

The Sohar port launched a free zone in 2010 with tax and other incentives to attract companies’ logistics and manufacturing operations as part of the sultanate’s drive to diversify its economy.

Among other big industrial and infrastructure projects planned or underway are a $3.6 billion plastics production complex to be built in the city of Sohar and a $400 million steel plant in the southern port city of Salalah.

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