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Saudi Arabia's titanium smelter plant faces operational delays

Furnace 1 of the Jazan project has encountered technical issues, co-developer Tasnee said

A technical issued has delayed the start-up of Tasnee's titanium smelter plant in Saudi's Jazan [representational image].
A technical issued has delayed the start-up of Tasnee's titanium smelter plant in Saudi's Jazan [representational image].

The National Industrialisation Company (Tasnee) in Saudi Arabia has delayed the start-up of its titanium smelter plant within the economic city of Jazan following an unspecified technical issue, a regulatory filing has revealed.

According to a statement filed on Tadawul, Tasnee said a technical issue was encountered during the start-up of furnace one at the plant.

“In order to fully assess the technical issue and ensure the safety of employees, the furnace one was shut-down on 29 October 2018,” the bourse filing read.

READ: Maaden begins production at $4bn aluminium smelter

“While the Furnace 1 is cooling down over the next month, we will work together with Outotec, the engineering, procurement, and construction [EPC] contractor, that has designed and constructed the plant to examine and identify the root causes of the need to shut-down, together with the support of Tronox under the technical services agreement.”

Tasnee said it hoped to restart the furnace during the second half of 2019, adding that the project's co-owner Cristal intends to commission Furnace 2 after the first furnace has completed commercial production. Tasnee holds a 50% stake in the project, while the remaining shares are owned by Cristal, which in turn is 79% owned by Tasnee.

This is not the first time this specific project has encountered issues.

READ: Outotec wins $27m Saudi service deal

In June last year, Tasnee gave an update on the project, stating that work at the time was “still ongoing to solve the technical problems which require special parts being manufactured for the project due its large size and using the newest technology in the field”.

The company said that most of the production will be used as a raw material for the titanium dioxide products produced in the company’s plants in both Saudi Arabia and abroad.

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