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Company News, 2011-03-07, 11:00 AM

Kazakhstan’s first silicon metal plant starts production

With the commissioning of Furnace I, Kazakhstan’s first silicon metal plant went into operation at the end of 2010. The startup met with keen interest: Alongside Albert Rau, First Deputy Minister of Industry and New Technologies, and the German Ambassador Rainer Schlageter, numerous bank and media representatives attended the successful first tap.

Two ThyssenKrupp companies have key roles in the Kazakhstan government’s prestigious Silicium Kazakhstan LLP project in the province of Karaganda: ThyssenKrupp Mannex is the lead supplier of technical equipment and responsible for supervising construction, while ThyssenKrupp Metallurgie is the exclusive global distributor of the material produced.
Initially the plant will produce silicon metal with one furnace (annual capacity 12,500 metric tons) – for customers mainly in Europe, Asia and the USA. A second furnace with the same capacity, already installed, is scheduled for startup in May 2011. Interest from customers is huge. The plant’s capacity is to be doubled, with plans to install two further furnaces – like the first two also manufactured by SMS-Siemag. A contract on this with ThyssenKrupp Mannex is being prepared.

The new silicon plant has been built on a site measuring over 100 hectares. At its highest point it is 48 meters tall. The main building measures 102 meters by 90 meters. The covered storage yard is 200 meters long.
Rich in raw materials, Kazakhstan has the necessary funds to support further economic growth. In the east of the country is the world’s third largest deposit of quartz sand, from which silicon is obtained. The government is also relying on expertise and technologies from abroad.

Situated at the heart of Kazakhstan, Karaganda is the country’s metallurgical center. It has the necessary infrastructure, including a power plant to supply the plant. It is therefore the ideal location for Silicium Kazakhstan LLP. ThyssenKrupp Metallurgie holds a 16 percent stake in the company.

For the construction of the plant, heavy and technically advanced parts had to be shipped across Europe, a task requiring complex logistics and sophisticated project management from ThyssenKrupp Mannex. Whether it was heavy individual components or sensitive high-tech products, in the 40-degree heat of a Kazakhstan summer or winter temperatures of minus 40 degrees – everything had to arrive at the construction site on time.

Two furnaces and a flue gas cleaning unit, further high-tech components, all the electronic control equipment, as well as excavators, wheel loaders, mobile cranes, work platforms and the entire engineering: All the components were dismantled for transportation and packaged – in Germany, Italy, France or Poland, depending on where they were produced – before being transported by road or rail. In some cases abnormal load permits had to be organized for the shipment of particularly heavy or long individual parts.

Material worth around 60 million euros in total was transported. In Karaganda a specialist team from SMS-Siemag contracted by ThyssenKrupp Mannex not only supervised the construction and startup of the plant but also helped train the technicians on site.

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