Mining company Assmang, jointly controlled by Assore and diversified miner African Rainbow Minerals (ARM), together with China Steel and Sumitomo, have completed a definitive feasibility study to establish the financial viability of a manganese alloy smelting facility in Sarawak State, Malaysia.

Assmang is pursuing this initiative to maintain its existing alloy customers and to access growing Asian markets, by leveraging the long term availability of reasonably priced hydro power with guaranteed low escalation rates in the region. To enhance Assmang’s returns from the project, it will sell manganese ore to the new joint venture.

China Steel has approved an investment of US$62.46 million to acquire a 19% interest, which is linked to the right to purchase 30 000 – 32 000 tons of alloys per annum from the project. This approval is subject to Taiwanese government approval. Sumitomo has secured board approval for the project and is pursuing the necessary regulatory approvals.

The boards of directors of both Assore and ARM have conditionally approved the project and anticipate commencing construction during Q1 2014. Commissioning of furnaces would take place in 2016. The project is designed to have a full production capacity of 169 000 tonnes per annum.

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