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February 4th, 2013

News from the glass and refractory ceramics worlds

Published on February 4th, 2013 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

Nippon Electric Glass Co. has succeeded in increasing width (up to 20 millimeters) and further reducing thickness (down to 4 micrometers) of glass-ribbon, achieving the widest and thinnest glass-ribbon in the world.

Star-Kazan Soda Elektrik, a subsidiary of one of Turkey’s leading conglomerates, the Ciner Group, and China Tianchen Engineering Corp. have signed an agreement to build the world’s largest soda ash production complex in Ankara’s Kazan district. The projected is slated to enter production in 2017 with an annual capacity of 2.7 million tons.

• In the course of the start-up of the newly established RHI fusion plant in Norway in late November, a technical defect occurred while material was fed in, which caused a crucible to spill over and consequently required the entire melting operations to be shut down. As it is taking longer than expected to repair the damage, start-up costs will be higher; the recommissioning of the melting operation will start again in February, while full-load operation, with an annual production of roughly 80,000 tons of seawater-based fused magnesia, is expected for March. This will effectively make RHI self-sufficient in fused magnesia outside of China.

RHI also signed share purchase agreement to acquire Indian Orient Refractories Ltd.; ORL is an Indian producer of special refractories and monolithics listed on the National Stock Exchange of India as well as the Bombay Stock Exchange. The selling shareholders that hold the largest stake of the 43.6 percent are the immediate family members of S.G. Rajgarhia; the transaction price amounts to €31 million. The proposed sale of shares as aforesaid is subject to regulatory approvals.

• The World Steel Association reports that crude steel production reached 1,548 megatons for the year 2012, up by 1.2 percent compared to 2011. This is a record for global crude steel production; the growth came mainly from Asia and North America while crude steel production in the EU (27) and South America decreased.

Owens-Illinois reported an annual profit in 2012, even as revenues fell by nearly 5 percent due to continuing weakness in Europe; its full year 2012 operating profit increased by $35 million from 2011 thanks to improved manufacturing performance in North America and restructuring benefits in Asia Pacific. The decline in segment operating profit in Europe was largely due to the impact of lower sales and production volume and foreign currency headwinds.

Molten glass leaked from a furnace at PPG Industries’ Carlisle, Pa., flat glass plant. “Molten glass leaked from the furnace into the plant’s basement area,” says a company statement. “The leak has been stopped and contained. The incident is under investigation.”

• Glass giant Pilkington is to close its factory site in Aintree, UK, next month, with the loss of 51 jobs; Nippon Sheet Glass group, which owns St. Helens-based Pilkington, will also close a Basingstoke, UK, site this February, with the loss of another 41 workers.

• Calgary-based Graphite One Resources released a National Instrument 43-101 compliant resource estimate that is reverberating through the mining industry; the deal was settled the old-fashioned way, with a friendly handshake in Nome, Alaska. The parties to the deal were a group of Canadian entrepreneurs and the descendants of one of Alaska’s foremost pioneer families. Now, less than two years later, the groundwork has been laid for what has the potential to become the world’s largest, richest graphite mine.

Negotiations for bauxite ore mining continued between the government of Cameroon and Emirati companies Dubal (UAE, 45 percent of the capital), Hindalco (India, 45 percent of the capital) and Hydromine (US, 10 percent of the capital). The government has awarded two exploration licenses to operators since 2008 and the signing of the Mining Convention is scheduled for June. Before the start of bauxite mining, should be constructed a service by the railroad to transport the ore, developed a port terminal at Kribi (south), erected an open pit mine and an alumina refinery. Potential of both deposits and Minim Martap Ngaoundal production is estimated at 554 million tons for an operating life of 75 years.


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