Unichamp Group, the leading producer of industrial lime products in the Asia-Pacific region, will officially open its very first fully integrated modern lime manufacturing facility in Palawan on Wednesday.
Unichamp Executive Chairman Daniel Lim told reporters that the $24 million facility will produce high quality lime milk to meet the specifications and demand from the hydrometallurgical processing plant of Coral Bay Nickel Corp. (CBNC), a subsidiary of Sumitomo Metal Mining Co.
Lim did not give details about the full operating capacity of the facility, but stressed that its local subsidiary, Unichamp Mineral Philippines Inc., could provide CBNC “hundreds of thousands” of metric tons of lime milk annually.
Based on government data, the plant is designed to produce about 135,000 tons of quicklime and 170,000 tons of lime milk per year.
The raw materials in the form of limestone will be sourced to the existing Gotok Limestone Quarry operated by the Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp.
“Conveniently located at the Rio Tuba Economic Processing Zone (RTEPZ) in Brngy. Rio Tuba, our world-class facility will be responsible for supplying the CBNC with milk of lime, which will be used for the treatment of its waste water making it safer for disposal,” Lim said.
“Since the raw materials are sourced locally, our client could have a 15-20 percent cost saving, compared with importing slaked lime from overseas suppliers,” he said, adding that this will help eliminate reliance on imports and reduce the corresponding foreign currency outflow.
2 more facilities worth $20-$30M
Meanwhile, Lim said the company is now scouting for other business opportunities outside of Rio Tuba. He added that they are considering putting up two additional facilities worth $20-$30 million each.
“Our Palawan operations will just be a springboard. As long as there is a long-term contract, then we are open to building more plants,” the executive said.
Unichamp Mineral Philippines President Rommel Ibuna said they have already presented the technology to Citinickel Mines and Development Corp. and Marcventures Mining and Development Corp.
“Right now, every thing is under initial discussions. But we have expressed readiness to provide them with the technology, should they put up their own nickel processing plants,” Ibuna said.
The executive also expressed a desire to meet with major water concessionaires for possible partnerships for wastewater treatment, as well as agricultural companies for soil rejuvenation programs.
Quicklime and milk of lime products are widely used by various industries in the neutralization process for environmental treatment, soil treatment in agriculture industry, soil stabilization for road construction, water treatment for production of potable water (drinking water), steel production, sugar refinery, and paper industry, among others.
Besides the Philippines, Unichamp Group has regional presence and operations in Malaysia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Australia. The majority of its clients are from the mining and water treatment businesses.