Sarawak companies involved in SCORE development

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Although foreign investments in SCORE were vi­tal, Sarawak-based com­panies’ participation were at the same time very important to the growth of the development and could never be left out.

CMS and Press Metal Bintulu Sdn Bhd (Press Metal) were the two major Sarawakian compa­nies that had invested heavily into SCORE, lining up alongside global players such as Tokuyama Corp, Asia Mineral and Rio Tinto.

For CMS, apart from its collabo­ration with the domestic players, it also ventured into a consor­tium with Rio Tinto to cre­ate the Sarawak Alu­minium Company (Salco) to build the US$2 billion alu­minium smelter with an initial annu­al capacity of 550,000 tonnes, which could later be expanded to 1.5 mil­lion tonnes.

It was expected to contribute up to RM2.4 billion annually to Ma­laysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) and would generate 4,700 direct and indirect jobs.

CMS group managing director Datuk Richard Curtis as quoted in Inside Sarawak 2011 invest­ment report said involvement of a big name such as Rio Tinto had shifted the investment spotlight firmly on the state.

“Aluminium is the metal for the future and if you look at the level of usage in the West, we are far behind,” he added.

“It is very appropriate that Sarawak goes into the energy industry.

“That is why it was important to have a JV with Rio Tinto because it is able to set a certain standard in the industry.” He further said, “It upholds the conventions of the UN and so forth which are now observed by Sarawak.” On the other hand, CMS, through its subsidiary Samalaju Industries Sdn Bhd, had also entered into an agreement with property developer Naim and the Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) to build a township and housing de­velopment at Samalaju Industrial Park, which was estimated to cost at least RM1.5 billion.

Located within the SCORE, the project would comprise resi­dential developments, schools, clinics, commercial centres and recreational facilities for about 50,000 people.

Naim has a 60 per cent stake in the JV while CMS and BDA hold 30 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

The proposed new township, which would span more than 2,200 hectares, would be located about 15 kilometres north of the proposed Samalaju Industrial Park where energy-intensive industries would be sited.

“There are two components,” highlighted Curtis.

“One is building and operating work camps during construc­tion.

“In Asia they don’t take a lot of care of the workers and it creates a lot of unwanted social problems, especially in huge projects.

“Under our project, we feed them, house them and provide recreation.” Curtis is among those who devote their time to community programmes.

Meanwhile, for Press Metal, it started out as a family busi­ness and in the span of just 25 years, it had grown into one of the world’s leading suppliers of aluminium.

The company is one of the two in Southeast Asia to operate aluminium smelters.

It owned a 120,000 tonne an­nual capacity plant in Mukah (Sarawak) and was building a new facility in Samalaju In­dustrial Park that would add another 240,000 tonnes once completed in 2013.

Press Metal owns another smelter in China that produces 90,000 tonnes of aluminium a year.

Although headquartered in peninsular Malaysia, Press Metal played an integral part of major infrastructural and economic developments taking place in Sarawak.

“Maintaining integrity is key for us and it has helped us thus far,” said its chief executive of­ficer Datuk Paul Koon.

“We believe business is long term.

When people look at us, they see a company they can trust so that there is a basis for further discussion, whether it is about business or invest­ment. We don’t just come and go, Whatever we promise, we will deliver.

“We don’t over-promise but we deliver whatever we have commited to,” he added.