HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., May 22, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- AMCOL International Corporation (NYSE: ACO - News) has approved funding for an investment in a chromite processing facility in the Republic of South Africa ("RSA"). On February 23, 2009, AMCOL announced it acquired a 53% controlling interest in a chromite mine in the RSA. Chromite is a key ingredient in molds that are used in the production of heavy-steel castings. An example of these castings, which generally weigh more than four metric tons, is a turbine housing in a power station. AMCOL, through its subsidiary, American Colloid Company, is a leading supplier of chromite sand to U.S. foundries.
The plant will be constructed on the mine site, Farm Ruighoek 169, which is located in the North West Province. Estimated cost of the facility, including infrastructure for future expansion, is ZAR 130 million ($15.3 million). A RSA-based firm has been engaged to design, engineer, procure and manage construction of the facility. The plant, which has a design capacity of 100,000 metric tons, is expected to produce at commercial-scale in April, 2010.
Gary Castagna, President, Global Minerals commented "The Ruighoek facility will employ technology specifically designed to produce foundry-grade chromite sand as well as other high-value grades. The process will allow us to produce consistent, high-quality product that can be tailored for different casting designs. As a direct supplier, our customers will have better assurance they will receive the best quality product plus technical service at the exceptional levels for which we are known in the iron-castings industry."
Larry Washow, Chief Executive Officer, also noted "This plant investment coupled with our controlling interest in a high-quality reserve will enable AMCOL to become a global leader in foundry-grade chromite sand. The RSA investment has the potential to become a significant contributor to earnings within the next few years."