OMH Sarawak plant records higher production in 3Q

by TMR / graphic by MZUKRI MOHAMAD

OM HOLDINGS Ltd’s (OMH) ferroalloy smelter complex in Bintulu, Sarawak, has registered higher production volumes for ferrosilicon, manganese alloys and manganese sinter ore in the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2021 (3Q21), compared to the 2Q21. 

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia yesterday, the company stated that for the quarter under review, the Sarawak plant produced 33,453 tonnes of ferrosilicon, 59,307 tonnes of manganese alloys and 34,542 tonnes of manganese sinter ore. 

“This is respectively 45%, 57% and 143% higher in production volumes compared to the prior quarter after the Sarawak Plant resumed operations in early July following a temporary suspension,” OMH said. 

The Sarawak plant has an annual production capacity of 200,000 to 210,000 tonnes for ferrosilicon, 250,000 to 300,000 tonnes for manganese alloys and 250,000 tonnes for sinter ore. 

Ferrosilicon sales volume decreased 21% and manganese alloys sales volume 

decreased 14% in 3Q21 compared to the prior quarter of 23,894 tonnes and 43,856 tonnes, respectively, due to the lower inventory of finished goods available for shipment following the temporary suspension of the Sarawak plant from end May to June 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

OMH’s wholly-owned Bootu Creek Manganese mine in Australia processed 230,566 tonnes for 3Q21 at an average grade of 27.98% manganese while the Ultra Fines Plant produced 4,736 tonnes with an average grade of 27.91% manganese for 3Q21. 

“For the quarter under review, a total of 143,847 tonnes of manganese product with an average grade of 27.96% manganese was shipped from the Port of Darwin. 

“Based on current estimates, all mining operations at the Bootu Creek Manganese mine are anticipated to be concluded in 4Q21,” the company said. 

OMH added that it continues to see supported prices for ferrosilicon and silicomanganese as the global economy recovers while global supply and demand balance remains affected by the on-going power shortages in China, resulting in cuts in ferroalloy production. 

Power shortages in regions such as Europe and South Asia have curtailed global ferroalloy production even as prices rise to record levels. 

According to price reporting agency S&P Global Platts, ferrosilicon prices increased by 116.2% to US$4,150 (RM17,223) per tonne CIF Japan at the end of September 2021 compared to US$1,920 in the prior quarter while silicomanganese prices increased 4.5% quarter-on-quarter to US$1,615 per tonne CIF Japan at the end of September 2021. 

A total of 492,954 tonnes of ores and alloys were transacted in the quarter under review which was 34% lower compared to 2Q21 largely due to the decrease in manganese ores traded from the Tshipi Borwa Manganese Mine and Bootu Creek Mine.