Oman Chromite Company to invest in low-carbon ferrochrome plant

Oman Chromite Company to invest in low-carbon ferrochrome plant

Oman Chromite Company (OCC) announced a US$130k purchase agreement to acquire a 20% stake in a low-carbon ferrochrome plant under construction in the Sohar Port and Freezone of Oman.

Blue View

OCC is expanding its chromium business downstream in Oman, following the successful ramp-up of chromite mining in the country. The company reported quarterly production for Q3 2022 up two-fold to over 55kt.

Oman is a consistent source of chromite for Chinese stainless steel producers, adding 400-800ktpy of feed. The grade of the chromite in Oman is moderate with chromium:iron ratios in the ore lending themselves to produce a ferrochrome grade between that of lower-grade charge chrome (like that produced from South African ores) and high-grade high-carbon ferrochrome.

The advent of argon-oxygen-decarburisation (AOD) process in stainless steel production from 1967, buoyed the demand for charge chrome and lowered the requirement of low-carbon ferrochrome. Low-carbon ferrochrome is still used in stainless and special alloy steel production in the final stages of trimming, without re-introducing unwanted carbon.

China is a net-exporter of low-carbon ferrochrome, though only in small volumes and is effectively self-sufficient. The switch to convert chromite into low-carbon ferrochrome in Oman will come with looking for exposure to non-Chinese markets, contrasting to the main destination for its chromite ores. Europe is the largest importer of low-caron ferrochrome and with the current power-crisis impacting energy-intensive industries, the outlook looks challenging in the short term and potentially leading to permanent closures and downscaling demand for several raw materials. Other main markets include Japan, the USA, South Korea, and India, the latter with the largest potential for growth.

  • 10 Nov 2022
  • Oman Chromite Company
  • Chromium
  • Steel & Alloys

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