06 February 2003 10:15 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Titanium dioxide (TiO2) output is expected to resume next week from the fourth production line at Kemira's fire-damaged plant in Pori, southwest Finland, the Finnish chemicals group told CNI on Thursday.
The 40 000 tonne/year capacity line was shut early on Tuesday (4 February) following a fire which started in the roof of the calcination unit.
Jukka Lehtonen, vice president for health, safety and the environment and engineering at Kemira Pigments, said today that subject to an inspection of the calcination unit, it was hoped that production will resume next week.
"We have had to wait for the unit to cool down before we could check its condition," explained Lehtonen. "But if the calciner is OK, we should be back in operation some time next week."
Production from the Pori plant's three other lines, which have a combined capacity of about 80 000 tonne/year, was resumed on Tuesday afternoon within hours of the fire being extinguished.
Lehtonen confirmed that the damage began and was largely confined to the roof section in the fourth line. He said work to repair and place roof sections would be carried out while the line is in operation.
Although the cause of the blaze has yet to be established, investigations are centring on a hot gas line.
There are no official estimates of the cost of repairs but Lehtonen said the damage now appeared to be less extensive than at first feared. However, repairs are likely to run into the low millions of euros.
Lehtonen said the blaze would not affect adversely plans to raise TiO2 capacity to 130 000 tonne/year through a Euro20m ($21.5m) debottlenecking project. The project is expected to be completed this year although it is likely to be early 2004 before the full additional capacity is available.
Plans for a further additional 20 000 tonne/year debottlenecking are still at the preliminary feasibility stage, said Lehtonen. "We are doing technical studies but no decision has yet been made [to proceed with the project]."
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