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Disruption at Sohar Aluminum to last up to 6 months

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Production at Oman's Sohar Aluminum could be disrupted by as much as six months, sources said Thursday, following the "interruption" of smelting operations after an "incident" reported by the company last Friday.

A trader said he expects the plant to remain closed for four to six months, with at least 150,000 mt of aluminum production lost.

A second source, an aluminum producer, said he had heard it could take even longer than six months to fully restore operations, despite official statements there would be no long-term impact.

"Sohar Aluminum refutes any unofficial statements, remarks, claims or communication circulated on social media, networking platforms, digital or print," according to a statement posted on the company's website since Monday.

"There are no long-term implications on the daily operations of the company and we will resume normal operations at the earliest," the statement said, with the situation "immediately controlled and there were no injuries recorded."

Local media also have reported delays at the plant, the Times of Oman saying Thursday that operations at Oman Aluminum Processing Industries -- a rod and line conductor manufacturer -- have been affected due to a disruption in the supply of metal from Sohar Aluminum.

Sohar Aluminum is owned 40% by Oman Oil Company and 40% by Abu Dhabi National Energy Co, with a 20% stake held by Rio Tinto.

The plant began production in 2008 and is not vertically integrated, meaning it sources all of its alumina offshore.

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