PNoy leads in inauguration of newly rehab PASAR facility
ISABEL, Leyte—President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III yesterday led the inauguration of the newly-rehabilitated environmental facility and the restart of smelting and refining operations at the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp. (PASAR) facility within the Leyte Industrial Development Estate (LIDE).
“PASAR’s existence in Leyte has already gained a number of local employments. Its reopening and planned expansion is expected to generate at least 3,000 jobs,” Aquino said.
Aquino added with PASAR’s operations back on track, it is expected to continue studying projects that will improve the future and ensure the firm’s competitiveness even with the current worldwide financial crisis that is also impacting the industry.
“PASAR is investing up to about $600 million and that expansion plan is aimed at increasing its capacity to produce copper concentrates. It is also planning to put up its own 200-megawatt coal-fired power plant that is expected to be completed by 2016,” Aquino said.
Technical studies on PASAR expansion and power plant installation is expected to be completed by October and financial studies by December and the project would take two to three years to complete.
PASAR’s smelting operations were stopped on January 2 this year after a fire destroyed the plant’s mist electrostatic precipitators. As these are key components of PASAR’s anti-pollution control system, it was crucial to replace them to allow the restart of the business.
During the first quarter of 2012, new precipitators were installed to replace those destroyed by fire.
PASAR, the only copper smelter and refinery in the Philippines for over a decade, has already invested over $260 million in the plant, equipment, technology and surrounding Leyte community.
“Over the years we have invested in special equipment to minimize environmental impact, including the installation of a tilting rotating oxygen furnace (TROF). This furnace uses 25% less energy that the original equipment, while increasing production rates by 50%. We have also invested in technology to recover waste heat energy to generate electricity to power the plant,” said PASAR Chairman Angel Veloso, Jr.
“In relation to the possible plant expansion and other projects that are currently under study…if these projects make economic sense, PASAR will always comply with environmental regulations and minimize the environmental footprint,” Veloso added.
PASAR is 78% owned by Glencore, the world’s largest diversified commodities trader, also wants to build a 200-megawatt coal-fired power plant to lower its energy cost, and may sell extra power to users at an industrial estate it plans to build near its refinery.
PASAR has been producing copper cathodes for export since 1976, was acquired by Glencore from the Philippine government in 1999. PASAR buys and refines copper concentrates from mines in Australia, Canada, Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea and South America. PASAR also produces dorë, an alloy containing approximately 20% gold and 80% silver used for jewelry and electronics; sulfuric acid for the production of chemical fertilizers; selenium for textile, glass and photocopying industries; iron concentrate used in steel-making; slag for shipbuilding; and cement manufacturing.
David S. Halley, PASAR President and CEO, said the company will do its best to purchase copper concentrates from Philippine mines as supply becomes available which will support local industry.
“Indeed we expect to strengthen our already good working relationship with government as we work together as partners in progress both for the future of the PASAR business, and for the future of the Philippines,” Halley said.
“We are proud to announce that copper cathodes produced by PASAR are of better than 99.9% purity and meet international standards. PSR ISABEL brand is registered as Grade A Copper with the London Metal Exchange (LME) and Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE),” Halley added.
Noted to their high level of purity, PASAR copper cathodes are shipped mainly to China, South Korea, Taiwan, Southeast Asia as well as domestic market.
“We are fortunate today to be able to welcome some of our cathode customers from South Korea, who are here to inspect our facility,” Halley said. (REYAN L. ARINTO)
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