KUCHING: OM Materials (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd’s ferroalloy smelting plant in Samalaju Industrial Park, Bintulu has raised the production volumes of ferrosilicon (FeSi) and manganese alloy in second quarter this year. In the second quarter ended June 30, 2019 (2Q-2019), the plant produced 57,901 tonnes of FeSi and 62,750 tonnes of manganese alloy, which were an increase of three and six percent from 56,411 tonnes and 59,175 tonnes respectively in 1Q-2019.
In the first half of 2019, the plant’s total production output of FeSi and manganese alloy stood at 114,312 tonnes and 121,925 tonnes respectively, according to figures released by OM Holdings Bhd (OMH), which owns 75 percent equity interest in joint-venture OM Sarawak. Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd (CMS) holds the remaining 25 percent stake in OM Sarawak, one of the pioneer investors in Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE). In 2Q-2019, OM Sarawak also sold a significantly higher volume of both FeSi and manganese alloy than in 1Q-2018.
The sales volume of FeSi surged by 7,159 tonnes to 58,330 tonnes from 51,171 or by 12.5 percent while that of manganese alloy rose by 11,709 tonnes to 62,333 tonnes from 50,624 tonnes or an increase of more than 12 percent. OMH attributed the higher sales volume to two vessel shipments of about 5,000 tonnes of FeSi and 7,000 tonnes of silicomanganese in early April. These two shipments were supposed to be in March but was delayed. As at June 30, 2019, the smelting plant’s 16 furnaces were in operation, with eight furnaces producing standard standard grade FeSi, two furnaces producing refined FeSi and six furnaces producing manganese alloy, according to OMH. The plant consists of eight main workshops with a total of 16 units of 25.5MVA furnaces, of which 10 units are allocated for the production of FeSi and six units for the production of manganese alloy.
It has the capacity to produce about 200,000 to 210,000 tonnes of FeSi and 250,000 to 300,000 tonnes of manganese alloy per annum. OMH also produces managanese alloy via OM Materials (Qinzhou) Co Ltd (OMQ) in China. In 2Q-2019, OMQ recorded manganese alloy production output of 9,132 tonnes which was lower than 9,705 tonnes in 1Q2019.
Sales of manganese alloy also fell — from 10,059 tonnes to 7,260 tonnes — during the same period. OMQ also produces manganese sinter ore,10,034 tonnes in 2Q-2019, down from 12,197 tonnes in 1Q-2019. Sinter ore production is utilised as feed for the production of manganese alloy and not sold. “Production at the end of the quarter was impacted by scheduled maintenance (of the plant) being conducted,”
OMH said in explaining the reason for the lower production volumes. In 2Q-2019, OMH recorded transaction of a total of 516,018 tonnes of ores and alloys, representing some 23.8 percent quarter-on-quarter increase compared to 1Q-2019 of 416,729 tonnes. The increase was mainly from higher volumes of third party ores traded. On prices, Platts (provider of energy and commodities information) reported that prices of FeSi to Japan closed lower at US$1,110 per tonne at end-June 2019, down from US$1,170 per tonnes at end-March 2019. “The fall in the price of FeSi was mainly due to an increased production rate by Chinese FeSi producers in China and a comparatively weaker global export market,” said OMH in its marketing and trading update.