Investments flow into Samalaju Industrial Park

FAMILARISATION TOUR: Aloysius (fifth from right) leading the media group and Azam members to the Tokuyama plant.

FOUR companies are readying the infrastructures to build factories on an 8,000-hectare site at Samalaju Industrial Park in Bintulu.

Tokuyama Corp, Press Metal Berhad, Asia Minerals Ltd and OM Holdings Ltd (OMH) are giving local skilled and semi-skilled workers a welcome boost with a stream of road-building and water-electricity supply projects to support the industries they are setting up in the area.

The idea is to locate heavy and energy-intensive industries away from Bintulu town and the populated areas, and the site — 62km from Bintulu Central Business District and accessible via Bintulu-Miri coastal road — at Park is ideal for this, according Liang Yew Chi, Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) senior manager (development).

Making a presentation to an Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) group, led by its chief executive officer, Dato Aloysius Dris, and the local media at the project site in Samalaju under AZAM’s ‘60 minutes with the CEO’ programme, Liang said the investors were also provided with abundant resources as the area was connected directly to power transmission lines from the Bakun HEP and the Murum HEP.

He disclosed that a deep seaport, which was a prerequisite for the metal smelting industry, would also be built in Samalaju.

Aloysius later led the group on a tour of the Press Metal construction site in Bintulu and the aluminium smelting plant in Samalaju.

Earlier, the group were in Mukah together with Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda) chief executive officer Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot. Accompanying them were Recoda’s head project manager Dawend Jiwan, its chief investment officer Kamil Daniel Yap and Bintulu Deputy Resident (development) Sirai Daha.

First foreign investor

Japan’s Tokuyama Corp — the first foreign investor at Samalaju Industrial Park — is setting up a RM2.36 billion plant to produce polycrystalline silicon for solar panels. Production is expected to come on stream next year.

According to a spokesman, the company, formed in 1918, has ventured into the production of organic and inorganic chemicals, cement, building materials, electronic materials, advanced materials, plastic resins, films and medical-related products.

As of March 31, 2011, it employed 5,493 workers and consisted of some 83 group companies.

Meanwhile, Tokuyama Malaysia Sdn Bhd was set up on Aug 18, 2009. Phase one of its plant in Samalaju is expected to produce 6,200 tonnes of industrial materials annually with 13,800 tonnes forecast for phase two.

Present at the brief presentation on the company were its Bintulu branch general manager Waichi Ide, senior officers and engineers.

Waichi said the first phase of the construction would cost about 80 billion yen (RM3.2 billion) and employ 350 local workers while phase two would cost about 130 billion yen (RM5.2 billion) and employ 250 workers.

The commercial operations will start in the second quarters of 2013 and 2014 for phases one and two respectively.

“Tokuyama chose to build a primary overseas production site in Malaysia because of the competitive cost, the abundant hydropower in Sarawak and the available cutting edge technology.

“We are targetting 10 per cent share in the poly-silicon market for PV. As pricing has become significantly more competitive, we have decided to make a big investment (accumulated US$2.6 billion) in Malaysia.

“We can survive globally with our competitive edge,” Waichi added.

The company expects to receive industrial water from the Public Works Department and LAKU in May this year and 132KV from Sesco in June.

Several phases

Press Metal Bhd, which operates an aluminium smelter plant in Mukah Division within the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) has started phase two of its expansion programme at the Park under its wholly-owned subsidiary Press Metal Bintulu Sdn Bhd.

This will be developed over several phases, and the new smelter will have an estimated production capacity of 240,000 tonnes per year.

Asia Minerals Limited (AML) is expected to be ready by May 2013 at the Park.

On the manufacturing front, AML will start ramping up first phase production in June 2013 and by June the following year, it will be able to produce 240,000 tonnes of manganese ferroalloy and ferrosilicon annually.

The second phase is scheduled to start in July 2014 and its production of ferrosilicon, silicon metal and electrolytic manganese metal ferrosilicon, silicon metal and electrolytic manganese metal is expected to reach 95,000 tonnes per year by June 2015.

In steel production, AML is planning to come up with a full range of ferroalloy and high value manganese items such as silicomanganese, low carbon silicomanganese, medium and low carbon ferromanganese, silicon metal, ferrosilicon and electrolytic manganese metal.

OM Holdings Ltd (OMH), which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, and Asia Mineral Ltd will both set up a manganese smelter under the SCORE initiative.

OMH’s proposed smelter will have the capacity to produce 300,000 tonnes of manganese ferroalloys and 300,000 tonnes of ferrosilicon alloys per year while Asia Minerals targets an annual production capacity of 400,000 tonnes.

Exclusive negotiations

OMH’s wholly-owned subsidiary, OM Materials (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Syarikat SESCo Bhd (owned by Sarawak Energy Bhd) to enter into exclusive negotiations on a long-term power (500MW) purchase agreement for its proposed smelter.

Explaining the Samalaju water supply scheme, Recoda’s head project management Dawend Jiwan said about
36.6 million litres per day (MLD) of raw water was required by the four investors by 2013, and 5MLD would be distributed to industries in Samalaju, the proposed Samalaju new township and nearby coastal villages.

He said Press Metal would require 0.6MLD, Tokuyama (23MLD), Asia Minerals Limited (20MLD) and OMH 8MLD. By 2015, raw water requirement will be 86MLD.

SCORE is one of the five regional corridors being developed throughout the country.

It’s a major initiative to develop the Central Region and transform Sarawak into a developed state by 2020 and it aims to achieve the goals of accelerating the state’s economic growth and development, as well as improving the quality of life of the people of Sarawak.

SCORE’s core assets are its energy resources (28,000 MW), particularly hydropower (20,000 MW), coal (5,000 MW) and others (3,000 MW).

These will allow Sarawak to price its energy products competitively and encourage investments in power generation and energy-intensive industries that will act as triggers for the development of a vibrant industrial development in the corridor.

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