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Asia Minerals To Launch New Manganese Project
= Mine development in South Africa and a new plant of manganese group ferroalloys in Malaysia =
Asia Minerals Limited, Hong Kong (AML) intends to become a 20% supplier of manganese to the world's demand in 2020 through (i) developing a manganese mine in Kalahari, South Africa, and (ii) constructing a greenfield plant of manganese group ferroalloys in Sarawak, Malaysia.

This article is based on an interview held in AML's Tokyo Office on February 27 with Mr. Hirotaka Suzuki, president of Asia Minerals who visited Japan late February. The outline of the two projects is as follows.

1)Kudumane Manganese Mine Project, South Africa
(i) The mine is located in Kalahari, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. Commercial scale production is to commence sometime during the fourth quarter (October - December) 2012. Estimated ore reserves are 200 million tons. Products will be, approximately 2 million per year of Grade A ore assaying Mn: 37 - 38%, F4e: 4.5%, P: 0.02% and approximately 0.9 million tons per year Grade B ore assaying Mn: 42%, Fe: 7%, P: 0.03%.

(ii) Principals for the development are Northern Cape Manganese (NCMC) and Dirleton, in each of which AML has a 49% interest. The two principals equally (50% each) own a company called Kudumane Manganese Resources (KMR) which is to operate the mine. AML has concluded a consultancy agreement on the mining operations and an agreement of sale/purchase of manganese ore, both with KMR. AML also has a right under an agreement with the principals to obtain an additional number of shares of the principals.

(iii) Ores will be shipped out for the time being from Port Elizabeth, and in the near future from Coega. As to the surface transportation capacity in South Africa, Mr. Zuma, the president of South Africa expressed his plan, in his New Year speech at the beginning of 2012, to increase the capacity from the current 6 million tons (4.8 million tons by rail and 1.2 million tons by trucks) per year to 16 million tons per year by 2020.

(ivA sintering plant is to be constructed at the mine site by 2014, which will produce sintered ores of which manganese content is to be upgraded to 44 - 45%.

(v)AML is now in talks with several companies for partnership and details of conditions for it.

2)Sarawak Manganese Group Ferroalloys Plant, Malaysia
(i) Land preparation work commenced early 2011 at Samalaju Industrial Estate, Sarawak State, where AML has been allocated 180 hectare for the plant construction. So far preparation of 80 hectare has been completed. Construction of the ferroalloy plant is to commence in April 2012, with scheduled start-up in the Q3 (July - September) 2013 to reach a full production stage of 330,000 tons per year by the end of 2014.

(ii)Product lineup will be <> silico-manganese: 110,000 tons per year, <> low-carbon silico-manganese: 20,000 tons per year, <> medium/low-carbon ferromanganese: 50,000 tons per year, <> ferrosilicon: 100,000 tons per year, and <> manganese metal: 50,000 tons per year. These products are all energy consuming, but availability of the low-cost power in Sarawak is an advantage.

(iii) Power supply is from the nearby hydropower generation plant at Bakun, which was constructed in 2011, having a generating capacity of 2400 megawatt. AML already in December 2011 concluded a contract to receive power supply for 20 years.

(iv)A license for production has been obtained. A license of environmental protection has been conditionally given and the conditions are to be lifted in the near future.

(v) AML is ready to invite several will-be partners to the project, but intends to hold a majority (51 - 60%) of the interests. At this moment, Carbon Capital Corporation (CCC), a Malaysian company is to become a partner to hold 8%, and with four/five potential partners, AML signed memorandums of agreement.

(vi) Malaysia is an ideal location for the new project, as the country has so far concluded FTA agreements with many countries including ASEANs and Korea, while having an EPA with Japan. No import taxes are imposed on the traded products under the agreements, which is also an advantage for the project in marketing.
last modified : Mon 12 Mar, 2012 [09:56]
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