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Titanium venture aims for 15,000 ton capacity
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Aluminum Corp of China (Chinalco) has agreed to set up a venture with London-listed Aricom Plc for a US$300 million titanium sponge project in northeast Heilongjiang Province.


Aricom will own 65 percent in the venture, Aricom said in a statement on its website.


The plant, in Jiamusi, Heilongjiang, will have annual capacity of 15,000 tons of titanium sponge. Titanium sponge is the basic form of titanium metal used in titanium products, widely used in sectors such as aviation.


Aricom will supply ilmenite, a source of titanium dioxide, to the plant from its deposits in Amur, in Russia's Far East. The mines are about 1,300 kilometers away from the plant.


They have just completed a feasibility study for the project, according to Aricom. Construction is scheduled to start in July but the plant needs to secure approval from China's environment protection authority and the National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Commerce.


Full commissioning of the plant is expected in 2010 and production capacity could be doubled to 30,000 tons a year later, it said.


China's demand for titanium products is expected to jump to 20,000 tons in 2010 from 13,985 tons in 2006.


The proposed joint venture would utilize Aricom's production of ilmenite, expertise in titanium resource exploitation, access to capital and technology together with Chinalco's capital, technologies, local power base and proficiency in engineering design and construction and metal production, Aricom said.


Aricom is an Anglo-Russia company developing mineral assets in the Far East, aiming to serve the Chinese and Russian markets.


Beijing-based Chinalco, the nation's leading non-ferrous metals producer, is the state parent of listed Chalco.


(Shanghai Daily January 11, 2008)

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