Vale SA said on Tuesday it has signed agreements with local authorities and clients to look at developing so-called “mega hubs” in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
The mining giant said in a securities filing that the industrial complexes in the Middle East would be focused on low-carbon steelmaking products such as hot briquetted iron to supply both local and foreign markets.
Vale is expected to build and operate iron ore concentration and briquetting plants within the hubs, the company said, while local parties are seen building the required logistics infrastructure.
Investors and clients would construct and operate the direct reduction iron plants and be off-takers of hot briquetted iron for either the export or domestic markets, it added.
“We see a great potential in the direct reduction route, with the seaborne demand for these high-grade agglomerated products growing 100 million tonnes in the next 15-20 years,” Vale’s head of iron ore Marcello Spinelli said.
The agreements include a memorandum of understanding signed with Saudi Arabia’s National Industrial Development Center (NIDC) for them to study developing a mega hub in Ras Al Khair.
Vale has also signed an MoU with the UAE’s Emirates Steel Arkan for a plant at the Khalifa Economic Zones Abu Dhabi and a cooperation memorandum with Oman’s Commerce Ministry for a mega hub to be implemented in Duqm, it said.
(By Gabriel Araujo; Editing by Steven Grattan and Bernadette Baum)