The cold commissioning was completed in fourth quarter-2019 (Q4-2019), according to OM Holdings Ltd (OMH).
OMH has a 75% stake in OM Sarawak, the owner and operator of a ferro alloy smelting plant.
Its joint venture partner, CAHYA MATA SARAWAK BHD (CMS) holds the remaining 25% stake in OM Sarawak, which produces ferrosilicon (FeSi) and manganese alloy.
The sinter plant, which will have an annual production capacity of 250,000 tonnes, will be able to reduce the production cost of manganese alloy.
The new plant will upgrade manganese ore fines via a sintering process with coke to produce sintered manganese ore lump.
This will bring down the cost of producing manganese alloy and improve furnace productivity, according to ASX-listed OMH.
OM Sarawak has earlier set aside A$20mil as capital expenditure for the construction of the sinter plant with auxilliary facilities, a laboratory, offices and a canteen.
OM Materials (Qinzhou) Co Ltd also owns a ferro alloy smelter and sinter plant in Qinzhou, Guangxi China.
Besides the completion of the sinter plant, OM Sarawak also completed the construction works for the expansion of the ferro alloy smelting plant’s raw material storage warehouses, finished product warehouses in fourth quarter 2019.
“The contractors are in the process of commencing the handover requirements.
“These capital initiatives will greatly improve logistical efficiencies, ” said OMH in its latest update on the expansion project, when releasing its financial results for fourth quarter 2019 last Thursday.
OM Sarawak smelting plant consists of eight main workshops and a total of 16 units of furnaces, of which 10 are allocated for the production of FeSi and six for production of manganese alloy. All the furnaces are in operation.
The plant, one of the pioneer energy-intensive industries in Samalaju within Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), has a capacity to produce about 200,000 to 210,000 tonnes of FeSi and 250,000 to 300,000 tonnes of manganese alloy per annum.
In Q4-2019, the plant produced 58,296 tonnes of FeSi and 61,463 tonnes of manganese alloy (mainly siliconmanganese and high carbon ferromanganese) against 58,127 tonnes and 64,775 tonnes respectively in Q3-2019.
“Manganese alloy production volume decreased marginally by approximately 5% as compared to the quarter ended 30 September 2019 mainly due to one manganese alloy furnace being shut down for repair and maintenance in November 2019, ” said OMH.
In Q4-2019, OM Sarawak sold 53,078 tonnes of FeSi and 59,740 tonnes of manganese alloy, which were both lower as compared to 57,249 tonnes and 67,583 tonnes respectively in Q3-2019.
“Despite the suspension of mining activities at the Bootu Greek mine, the smelting plant was able to sustainably maintain its name-plate production capability in the quarter ended Dec 31,2019, ” said OMH in the update.
Bootu Greek mine, which is 100%-owned by OM (Manganese) Ltd, had its in-pit mining operation suspended after a wall collapsed and killed a worker on Aug 24.
According to OMH, it had obtained approval from the Australian Primary Industry and Resources Department to restart mining activities on the Western Limb on Dec 23,2019.
For whole year 2019, OM Sarawak produced 230,735 tonnes and sold 219,828 tonnes of FeSi as well as produced 248,163 tonnes and sold 240,280 tonnes of manganese alloy.
Source: The Star