Australian co to supply mineral, sand mining equipment

G.K. Nair

Tech deal

Under the

contract, the Finnish company, Ootokoumpo Technology Ltd, would supply pollution-free technology for the manufacture of 1.3 lakh tonnes synthetic rutile a year. It would also provide performance guarantee.

Kochi, March 24

The State-owned Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML) has awarded Rs 160-crore contract to a Finland company for a 1.3-lakh tonne capacity, synthetic rutile plant. With this, KMML's titanium dioxide pigment (rutile grade) capacity will increase to one lakh tonnes a year, with an investment of Rs 760 crore.

Mr K.P. Rajendran, Managing Director, KMML told

Business Line

on Thursday that to make available the required volume of mineral sand "we have also given a contract worth Rs 120 crore to an Australian company for supply and erection of mineral sand mining equipment. This facility would be in place in 18 months," he said.

To meet future sand requirement the company would mine 4 metres deep though it would be possible to mine up to 7.5 metres deep. At present, the demand is met through collection of beach sand, he said.

Under the contract the Finnish company Ootokoumpo Technology Limited, would supply pollution-free technology for the manufacture of 1.3 lakh tonnes synthetic rutile a year. It would also provide performance guarantee, he said.

The technology has been in use at two plants in Australia for over a decade, he said adding that the plant would be set up in 33 months. With the new technology the problem of iron oxide waste disposal would be solved. Currently the waste is disposed in a 15-acre pond, he said.

Pigment production would involve using existing technology modified by KMML. The pigment production capacity would be raised to 60,000 tonnes per annum by October next. However, the company would outsource the intermediate raw material to meet the increased demand from October next until the synthetic rutile plant is commissioned, he said.

With the expansion, the company would require a large quantity of oxygen, another major raw material used in manufacturing the pigment.

It is currently procured from Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu and involves huge transportation cost. KMML has signed a contract with a Delhi-based firm, which will erect a plant on BOO basis at a cost of Rs 82 crore. This is expected to ensure constant supply and bring down pigment production cost by Rs 5,000-6,000 a tonne.

The company has also set up an R&D centre to further improve product quality and for the manufacture of specific-quality pigments used in automobile paints etc, he added.

KMML, the only company in the country manufacturing titanium dioxide pigments (rutile grade), is Kerala's major profit-making public sector unit.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 25, 2006)
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