PT ANTAM (Persero) Tbk has commenced preheating of the Furnace-4 facility which is part of the Pomalaa Ferronickel Plant Expansion project (P3FP). The preheating process started on March 29 and was the initial stage prior to switching on the facility in mid-April. The switch on is the beginning of the commissioning phase of Furnace-4.

ANTAM expects the facility to operate at optimal level this year with a production level of 4600 tonnes of nickel contained in ferronickel (TNi). Following the operations of the Furnace-4 facility, ANTAM expects total ferronickel production this year to increase to 20,400 TNi with sales of 22,000 TNi.

ANTAM’s president director Tato Miraza said: “The commencement of the preheating process of Furnace-4 facility reflects our commitment in expanding the production of our core value added commodity of ferronickel. The completion of the Pomalaa Ferronickel Plant Expansion project in the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2015, which also includes the development of a coal-fired power plant, shall increase ANTAM’s profitability and performance through increased production and lower costs.”

The new Furnace-4 facility also features enhanced capabilities over existing facilities, including higher speed electrodes which are capable of better power load handling, the use of an automatic tapping machine, a better copper cooler system and the use of a safer bucket elevator in the slag granulation system.

In line with the completion of P3FP, ANTAM’s annual ferronickel production is expected to increase from 18,000-20,000 TNi to 27,000-30,000 TNi. Completion of the project will also lower the ferronickel cash cost, resulting in ANTAM’s position as one of the lowest ferronickel cash cost producer globally.

ANTAM has also entered a cooperative relationship with Ocean Energy Pte Ltd – Singapore for the development of a nickel smelter project in East Halmahera, North Maluku. The relationship began with the signing of an Investment Heads of Agreement between ANTAM’s development director Hendra Santika and Ocean Energy managing director Ren Jianhua on December 9, 2014 at ANTAM’s Head Office in Jakarta.

Tato Miraza said: “ANTAM’s cooperation with Ocean Energy reflects our continuous undertaking to add value to the economics of Indonesia’s vast nickel reserves and to support the company’s sustainable growth.”

ANTAM and Ocean Energy plan to develop a nickel pig iron (NPI) plant in two stages. The plant is expected to produce a total of 300,000 tonnes of NPI with an estimated cost of US$280 million. The agreement also includes plan for the development of a stainless steel plant. Financing will be provided by Ocean Energy with main technology support from Taizhou YongXing Alloy Material Technology Co, Ltd from China. ANTAM will provide key essential contributions in the form of mining expertise, land development, facilities and infrastructure development.