08/04/2010 - 00:00

New facilities to boost Kemerton

08/04/2010 - 00:00

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THE state government has cleared the way for silicon producer Simcoa to double its operations near Bunbury, giving the green light for two additional furnaces to be built at Kemerton Industrial Park.

New facilities to boost Kemerton

THE state government has cleared the way for silicon producer Simcoa to double its operations near Bunbury, giving the green light for two additional furnaces to be built at Kemerton Industrial Park.

Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls launched stage one of the project early this week, the construction of a new $120 million furnace.

Simcoa, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japan’s ShinEtsu Chemical Company, currently has two silicon furnaces in operation at Kemerton Industrial Park, meaning its capacity will be boosted by 50 per cent when stage one is complete.

With both furnaces installed, the capacity of the plant will increase by approximately 16,000 tonnes per annum.

Mr Grylls said this would help Simcoa meet increasing international demand for silicon, which is driven by the needs of the growing solar energy industry.

As Australia’s only producer of silicon, Simcoa produces 32,000 tonnes each year, enough to meet Australian demand while still exporting 90 per cent of its output.

According to Mr Grylls, the expansion of the facilities would provide a significant economic boost for the south-west.

“The first stage of the project will provide 120 jobs during construction as well as 40 new permanent positions at its expected completion in August 2011,” Mr Grylls said.

“The second stage of the project will see the installation of a fourth furnace, doubling Simcoa’s current capacity by the end of 2013.”

The expansion of Simcoa’s operations sits in line with the final strategy plan for Kemerton Industrial Park, which was released by LandCorp and the Department of State Development in November last year.

The development blueprint said four types of industry were suited to the estate – high technology, power generation, chemical and resource processing and downstream processing.

Another key tenant at Kemerton Industrial Park is Millennium Inorganic Chemicals, a mineral sands processor owned by Middle Eastern-consortium Cristal Chemicals.

Other operations in the park include a 260-megawatt power plant operated by Transfield Services, a Water Corporation treatment plant, and a Hansol Australia timber plantation.

 

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