Vale is investing $1.3 billion dollars in the new direct reduction iron ore pelletizing plant and distribution center, located in Sohar Industrial Port in Oman. For Vale, it will be the first pelletizing operation outside of Brazil. The initial annual production capacity of the plant will be 9 million tons and once completed the site’s distribution center will have a capacity of handling 40 million tons.

Scheduled for start-up in late 2010, the facility will cater to the Middle East steel industry’s growing demand for iron ore and pellets. The new plant will operate with 720 employees, of which 202 employees will be part of ABB’s maintenance team at the site. ABB will be active in both hiring and providing ongoing development of local Omani Nationals within their work team.

The ABB agreement will cover the development and execution of all maintenance activities at the plant. ABB will manage the entire maintenance crew to ensure that mechanical and electrical maintenance regimes, shutdown management, planning and scheduling, as well as reliability maintenance are completed according to the ABB’s maintenance outsourcing concept.

“By combining our engineering and project management excellence with the ABBs’ maintenance concept during the commissioning period, we will provide higher process and equipment reliability, maximum operating efficiency with reduced life cycle cost for this plant from day one,” said Saeed Fahim, country manager for ABB in Oman. “Our long-term working collaboration with Vale and deep process knowledge of their operations were important factors in securing this contract.”

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