• April 01, 2016

Copper tube mill is latest addition to SOHAR metals cluster

· New US$ 46 million copper tube mill to open in SOHAR Freezone
· 3.5 hectare plant will have 15,000 tons of copper tube (ACR) capacity
· Construction starts October 2016 and production by October 2018

The success story continues at SOHAR Port and Freezone, with the signing this week of a 35,000 square metre land-lease agreement for a major new copper tube mill in SOHAR Freezone. A further 30,000 square metres of land has been set aside to increase the plant’s capacity to 30,000 tons in the future. Construction will commence later this year and the plant is due for start-up by mid-2018, with full production scheduled by October 2018.

With a capacity of 15,000 metric tons of high technology copper tubing per annum, this latest addition to the burgeoning Freezone metals cluster will produce mainly inner-grooved copper tubes, as well as plain copper tubes. Both these products are widely used in the manufacturing of heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems. The plant’s technology is most commonly known as ‘cast and roll’ and comprises of three distinct production stages. The raw materials, copper cathodes that are then formed directly into mother tubes, will be sourced from Iran or the local market.

Investments in the plant, that total around US$ 46 million, are to be split between four main shareholders: Middle East Investment Company, Mohsin Haider Darwish Invesco, Hussain bin Salman Ghulam Al Lawati, and Al Habib Holdings. Once operational, the new plant is expected to generate 30,000 tons of copper throughputs at SOHAR Port and another 35,000 square metres of landside logistics volume.

Although the bear market in copper, driven by global oversupply and reduced demand in China continues to push global copper prices lower, this is yet another sign that SOHAR is in the right place at the right time, according to Jamal T. Aziz, SOHAR Freezone Chief Executive: “As Oman and its GCC neighbours take active measures towards diversifying their economies, more investments are flowing into sectors such as infrastructure, real estate and hotels, driving significant demand for copper tubes in the construction industry; these tubes are the basic components for every freshwater and cooling system in the region.”

Mr. Aziz continued: “It’s estimated that the per capita value of the GCC’s construction industry will increase from around US$ 2,000 per person in 2014, to well over US$ 3,000 by 2020, and this latest plant in SOHAR is ideally located to serve the region, thanks to our outstanding connectivity to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as the Port’s proximity and our excellent ties to Iran.”