Oman’s Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones (Opaz) has signed an agreement with Kobe Steel, a leading Japanese steel manufacturer, and Mitsui & Company, a global trading investment company for setting up a low CO2 iron metallics project in the special economic zone at Duqm.
As per the deal, the duo will commercialise the manufacture and sale of direct reduced iron (DRI) produced through Kobe Steel’s Midrex Process in coordination with Opaz.
Under this Midrex Process, the iron oxide gets converted into DRI inside the shaft furnace using hydrogen-rich gas coming from natural gas or hydrogen as a reducing agent. Over 90 such Midrex plants are in operation across the globe.
Kobe Steel said it has, along with Mitsui, sealed a land reservation agreement with the Port of Duqm Company (PODC), the entity that operates the Omani port.
The Japanese groups also held discussions with Oman’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals on detailed conditions for natural gas supply.
Having confirmed the site and cooperative framework in Sezad, Kobe Steel and Mitsui will now move the feasibility study forward, it added.
According to Kobe Steel, the project aims to produce 5 million tonnes of DRI – the feed stock for steelmaking that can also be used in electric arc and blast furnaces as well as basic oxygen furnace melt shops – with a future expansion plan under study.