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KMML to raise capacity to 60,000 t by June

G.K. Nair

Kochi , Oct. 17

KERALA Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML) at Chavara in Kollam district is to expand its production capacity to 60,000 tonnes from the current 40,000 tonnes by mid-next year.

The top profit-making State public sector unit "has fixed the target date for enhancing its production level to 60,000 tonnes per year as June 15, 2006," Mr K.P. Rajendran, Managing Director, KMML, told Business Line.

"We are determined to achieve this plant capacity on schedule, in an effort to turn a truly global player, at par in status with the world's top producers of titanium dioxide pigment rutile grade (TiO2)," he said. The company's corporate plan shall be rescheduled accordingly, he said.

"I have appraised each divisional head to apply this target date to all the on-going projects, so that the milestone shall be covered, if possible, ahead of schedule," he said.

He said as there was a shortfall in raw sand supply, the company had acquired and installed an imported sand pump for surface dredging operations to ensure smooth inflow of raw sand to the Mineral Separation Plant. With this the average availability of raw sand a day was to the equivalent of 25-30 lorry loads. So far, KMML could dredge 15,000 mt of raw sand for processing. "Meanwhile, normal mining operations post-tsunami are also slowly improving," he said. This has resulted in arresting production loss and a substantial saving to the company.

The entire capacity expansion programme, he said, was being carried out using in-house modified technology.

At the initial stages KMML was awarded a letter of intent for a licensed capacity of 48,000 tonnes a year. But, the company had to limit its annual installed capacity only to 22,000 tonnes due to various reasons.

In the last few years, the company's performance in capacity utilisation was above its installed capacity. This improved capacity utilisation, especially during the past 4-5 years, made it necessary for further de-bottlenecking and incremental expansion, he said.

The company invested Rs 60.17 crore for its incremental expansion without any external assistance. These efforts in the recent past turned out to be fruitful in 2005 when the installed capacity went up to 40,000 tonnes.

Besides, it is expected that the new addition of rutile recovery circuit from November 1 shall increase natural rutile sand production from mineral separation plant by about 20 per cent, i.e., to raise the capacity by 5,000 tonnes per annum.

The KMML, which had exported 12,001 tonnes of titanium dioxide in 2004-05, has been selected for the special export award for the last fiscal by Capexil for the third successive year, he said.

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