Oman: A significant increase in the quantity of gypsum exported by Oman has helped the country to become the world’s leading exporter of gypsum. Shipments reached a record 6.32Mt during the first 10 months of 2017. Exports for 2017 are projected to top 7.30Mt, up from 5.65Mt a year earlier.
By contrast, the long-standing crude gypsum export leader Thailand has seen exports plummet in the wake of its decision to limit outflows of the commodity in favour of the south-east Asian nation’s thriving domestic gypsum and cement industries. Its exports are estimated to come to around 5Mt by the end of 2017, versus a record-setting 6.26Mt in 2016.
The rapid development of Oman as a gypsum export hub bodes well for the development of other mineral processing sectors in the country, according to Ramachandran, Director of USG Boral Zawawi Gypsum, one of Oman’s leading producers and exporters of gypsum.
“Considering that gypsum exports from the Sultanate were non-existent barely a decade ago, I think we have come a long way in a short time,” he said. “With improved cooperation and coordination among the exporters, suitably supervised by the Public Authority of Mining (PAM), the Sultanate can build on this landmark achievement and enhance non-oil export revenue growth from this promising economic industry.”
Ramachandran added that Oman’s large reserves and its geographic position serves it well to benefit from increasing gypsum consumption in the coming years. It is now the most important source of gypsum for at least 15 countries in Asia and Africa, including India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa, Kenya and Mozambique. By far the largest importer is India, which takes around 35% of the gypsum that Oman exports.