THPAL commences Chromite Production

by Philippine Resources - December 07, 2021

Taganito HPAL Nickel Corporation (THPAL), a mineral processing plant and a subsidiary of Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd (SMM), officially started its commercial operation of chromite last March 2021 to produce chromite concentrate.

The company decided to commercially extract chromite to be used primarily as a raw material for stainless steel. With the Chromite Recovery Plant of the company, THPAL can now recover chromite simultaneously during the production process of nickel and cobalt mixed sulfides, the first intermediate product of the company.

Chromite has brownish to black-colored mineral and is refined and processed into the intermediate product ferrochrome, widely used as a raw material for stainless steel and other special steels. This can also be used as paint pigment to produce Chrome Yellow for the textile industry, where large amounts of chromium compound as chemical to fix a dye are commonly used.

According to Engr. Rey Prado, head of THPAL Chromite Recovery Plant, “It has been shown that there is an increase of the worldwide demand for chromite from November 2018 and the market is still growing. With this, the company’s target is to produce high quality chromite for quarterly shipment on demand of the customer.”

By efficiently recovering not only nickel and cobalt but also its by-products such as scandium and chromite in THPAL, it will increase the cost competitiveness of its HPAL technology. This will likewise provide new materials for the stainless-steel industry, which is the backbone of the nickel business.

By doing so, SMM’s presence in the global nickel industry through its subsidiary companies will push the realization of its vision of “Becoming the World Leader in the Non-Ferrous Metals Industry” by 2030. This will likewise add value to the low grade ores and increase the contribution of the company to employment generation and to the coffers of the government.

Brief Description of THPAL

Taganito HPAL Nickel Corporation (THPAL) is a mineral processing plant located at Taganito Special Economic Zone, Barangay Taganito, Claver in the province of Surigao del Norte, which employs the highly efficient High Pressure Acid Leaching (HPAL) technology to turn low-grade nickel ore into a manufactured intermediate product of high commercial value.

With its estimated cost of 1.6 billion US Dollars, it became one of the largest foreign direct investment projects in the Philippines.

THPAL’s plant is designed to have an annual production of 30,000 metric tons of Nickel and 2,640 metric tons of Cobalt in the form of Ni-Co Mixed Sulfide. This Ni-Co Mixed Sulfide will be exported to Nihama Nickel Refinery in Ehime Prefecture, Japan.

THPAL is likewise the country’s sole producer of scandium – the rarest mineral on earth -- and on April 2021 THPAL started the commercial operation of its Chromite Recovery Plant to produce chromite concentrate.

 



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