Vale wished to establish a pelletising plant with a capacity of up to 20 Mt/y in the gulf region to serve their existing customers with pellets rather than iron ore, in order to add value to their product. Vale had identified Oman as a likely location and in particular a new development at the Port of Sohar.
Although the new port had been designed by others to accommodate a variety of vessels, it was considered necessary to incorporate a new dedicated deep draft jetty for bulk materials handling using Capesize and Panamax vessels.
McLellan was appointed to undertake a Pre-Feasibility Study, the object of which was to present information to the Vale management to enable decisions to be made regarding:
In the study, McLellan investigated:
It was recommended that Vale should proceed with a full feasibility study on the basis of a 10 Mt/y plant, with provision for later expansion. The site was an attractive location due to its stable economy and access to deep water, allowing delivery of ore in Capesize vessels at economic rates and dispatch of pellets in Panamax vessels directly to customers in the Persian Gulf.