* 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.