By Vladislav Vorotnikov
Kazakhstan-based industrial materials company TOC
Tenir-Logistic is planning to launch a titanium dioxide
(TiO2) project next year, the first of its kind in
the Central Asian country. The TiO2 plant will be
fed with ore from the Tymlay titan-magnetite deposit in Zhambyl
Oblast, in southern Kazakhstan.
Tenir-Logistic has been exploring the deposit since 2006,
but development has been postponed several times due to lack of
investment. According to the company’s economic
feasibility study, Tymlay will cost $700m to build.
But now it seems that the issue of funding has finally been
solved, with Chinese investors willing to finance the project.
A 2015 announcement that China Machinery Engineering Corp. and
China Metallurgical Group Corp. were willing to support
Tymlay’s development was confirmed in June 2016,
when the two Chinese companies signed a memorandum of
understanding (MoU) with the Zhambyl authorities.
Under the terms of the MoU, the Chinese investors will fund
almost all of Tymlay’s construction costs while
the local government will assist with building infrastructure
and by granting tax breaks to the mine, once it is
Data from the Kazakhstan Committee on Geology and Subsoil
Resources states that the Tymlay deposit holds a mineral
resource of around 500m tonnes, consisting principally of
titan-magnetite and ilmenite with an average TiO2
content of 5.54%.
At full capacity, the Tymlay processing plant is expected to
produce 45,000 tpa TiO2, 10,000 tpa silica dioxide,
650,000 tpa vanadium pentoxide and 190,000 tpa special
Tenir-Logistic claims that the project’s output
will be enough to make Kazakhstan self-sufficient in
TiO2 and may yield surplus material for export.
|Development of the
deposit in Zhambyl Oblast has been taking place
since 2006 but has been postponed in the past owing to a
lack of funds.
Asia Development Bank, via
Tymlay’s prospects were dealt a blow when a
deal was signed by members of the Eurasian Economic Union,
which comprises Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and
Armenia, on 1 September 2016 suspending customs duties on
imports of Russian TiO2 into Kazakhstan for a period
of five years.
This step was taken at the request of a group of Kazakhstan
TiO2-consuming companies, who lobbied the government
for access to cheaper supplies of the chemical, in the absence
of domestic production.
It is not yet clear how this agreement will affect
Tenir-Logistic’s plans, but the company will have
to prove that its TiO2 is competitive with Russian
material. So far, Tenir-Logistic has declined to comment on
According to Absadyuk Mamumov, a spokesman for the Zha-mbyl
government, Kazakhstan’s national government is
broadly in favour of the Tymlay scheme and is likely to
reinstate import tariffs once Tymlay starts
He explained that it is difficult to manufacture products
like TiO2 more cheaply in Kazakhstan than in
Russia, where companies have easier access to credit and