KUCHING: The proposed 80 megawatt (MW) manganese smelter to be built by joint venture (JV) company, Sakura Feroalloys Sdn Bhd in
the Samalaju Industrial Park, is expected to come online by October 2015.
This follows the signing of a power purchase agreement (PPA) between Sakura Feroalloys and Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) here today. Work on the project is expected to start soon.
Sakura Feroalloys is a JV between three international companies, Assmang Ltd, Sumitomo Corporation and China Steel.
Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said the companies are expected to invest about US$328 million or RM1 billion, with an estimated production of 100,000 tonnes of high carbon ferro-manganese and 60,000 tonnes of silicon manganese per annum.
"The signing will also see an estimated 1,500 direct and indirect job opportunities for locals in Samalaju, where a township is being built, with a a hotel and workers accommodation to be ready within a year.
"This is besides making available, basic government services like security," Taib added.
He was speaking after witnessing the signing of the PPA between SEB and Sakura Feroalloys.
SEB's signing of the PPA with Sakura Ferroalloys was through its
wholly-owned subsidiary, Syarikat Sesco Bhd (Sesco).
SEB was represented by its chief executive officer Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit, while Sakura Ferroalloys director Jan Christiaan Steenkamp, signed for the company.
Taib said the signing of the PPA also signified growing investor confidence in the state's energy-intensive industry, particularly since the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score) was implemented about five years ago.
Meanwhile, Sjotveit said the total investments by its current six PPA customers within five years amounted to RM10.39 billion.
"At least one more PPA will be signed by the year's end," he added.
He said SEB's projection is that by the middle of the next decade, residential, retail and commercial customers in Sarawak would require 2,000 MW, while customers in the Score, would consume at least 6,000 MW.
Sarawak's gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to expand five-fold by 2030, with about 1.6 million jobs to be created, when Score is fully operational.-- Bernama