Platinum Group Metals Corp. (PGMC), through wholly owned unit MCCI Corp., will spend $2 million to upgrade two of its ferronickel smelting plants to boost operational efficiency and profitability.
John Cabarrus, PGMC senior vice president for smelter operations, said PGMC would shut down its plants in Iligan, Lanao Del Norte and Manticao, Misamis Oriental for three months to implement "productivity and quality improvement strategies" and install additional equipment.
He added that the company would also employ additional environmental and safety measures to address issues raised by the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environmental and Natural
These will include pollution control devices such as the construction and improvement of siltation ponds or catch basins, chimney as smoke and sampling stack and additional filter bags or hoods in the crushing
"This is in line with the company's policy not to compromise the health and safety of its employees and stakeholders," Cabarrus said.
PGMC is set to operate integrated ferronickel smelter plants in the country by the end of the year with the completion of its P1.9-billion expansion and rehabilitation program.
PGMC chairman Ramon Atayde said the company has started putting up furnaces and kilns in the two plants in Iligan and Manticao as well as in another plant in Danao City, Cebu.
The Iligan facility used to be a calcium carbide plant before PGMC acquired 93 percent of the plant from a chemical firm in October last year. It has been converted into a ferronickel processing plant that exports nickel to Australia. PGMC delivers some of its nickel output to the world's largest mining company and partner, BHP Billiton. The two companies entered into a two-year contract, covering the supply of 200 tons of contained nickel to BHP Billiton per month.
In addition, BHP Billiton is providing technical service support for process and facilities engineering in PGMC's Iligan plant this year.
For the Manticao plant, PGMC expects its furnace to be up and running later this year so it can also operate as a ferronickel smelter plant from just a ferrochrome facility.
The planned ferronickel smelting plant in Danao City, meanwhile, will also be completed by yearend. Last year, the company bought the cement plant, including three rotary kilns, from cement producer Lafarge.