* SIMCOA operates the only fully-integrated silicon metal production plant in the world and is Australia's ONLY silicon producer - making us unique.
* Over 95% of our silicon is exported, to countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.
* SIMCOA employs about 180 local people and indirectly supports another 600 within the south west region.
* Silicon melts at 1410 degrees Celsius.
* The temperature inside the arc furnaces is over 3000 degrees Celsius. Working in the areas around the furnaces would often be 40 - 50 degrees Celsius.
You might be surprised at the diverse range of products that contain silicon, including:
* Silicon solar cells, chips and wafers.
* Silicone rubber, oils and sealants.
* Cosmetics, toothpaste, shampoo, prosthetics (artifical body parts).
* Optical glass and fibre optic cable.
* Alloy wheels on motor vehicles, engine mounts, cylinder heads, gearbox housings. All Harley Davidson wheels contain Simcoa silicon.
SIMCOA - Some interesting facts
* We currently produce around 50,000 tonnes of silicon and 11,000 tonnes of silica fume per year.
* We make and use in our process about 24,000 tonnes of charcoal and 120,000 tonnes of quartz in a single year, plus 30,000 tonnes of imported coal.
* The 3 furnaces at Kemerton make silicon continuously all year round and use as much electricity as the city of greater Bunbury.
* SIMCOA operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
* The quartz we use in our process is from our mine at Moora, approximately 180km north-east of Perth.
* SIMCOA commenced production in 1989.
SIMCOA is proud of it's commitment to minimising and recycling waste. If we can't use it, we try to find someone that can!
Silica fume (Microsilica), collected in a series of bag filters within our baghouse, is an important raw material used in the production of high strength, corrosion resistant concrete; shotcrete and industrial refractories.
Charcoal fines are used in the manufacture of BBQ briquettes; plus a number of projects which would utilise the waste heat from the operation are presently being evaluated.
Sawdust is sold to landscape gardeners and used as mulch, as well as being used by poultry farmers.
Quartz that is too small for use in the furnaces is extensively used in exposed aggregate and landscaping, for decorative and display purposes. It can also make a good road base and is sold as a flux for other industries.
Slag and dross from the refining of the silicon is sold as a feed for smelters in Europe that make silicon manganese.