CHANGSHU, China—U.S. Zinc Corp. will expand production at its facility in Changshu, adding 9,000 metric tons per year when at full capacity.
The project is projected to be complete in the first quarter of 2016, the firm said. The expansion includes facility additions, new employees and new equipment. The plant will continue to serve domestic demand in China for zinc oxide.
The expansion will bring the facility's total capacity to 25,000 metric tons per year. U.S. Zinc did not disclose financial specifics on the expansion.
“As the largest zinc oxide producer in the world, we continually expand and innovate to remain at the forefront of the zinc market,” U.S. Zinc President Rodrigo Daud said in a statement. “This expansion demonstrates our commitment to ensure consistent supply for the Chinese, and furthermore the global zinc oxide market.”
Commercial Vice President Tracy Baugh said in an email that the expansion will be housed in separate buildings covering about 40,000 square feet. The new built-up area has been designed to accommodate more expansion should U.S. Zinc deem it necessary.
Baugh said the firm is adding 18 jobs through the expansion, bringing total employment at the Chinese facility to 72. The expansion will add melting and distilling furnace units with zinc oxide collection systems.
U.S. Zinc will use SHG zinc metal exclusively in the new expansion, which Baugh said provides higher purity products suitable for the most critical applications.
According to Baugh, the expansion demonstrates the firm's commitment to enhance service and offerings further to its global customers.
“We continue to see strong demand for zinc oxide in China and want to continue to invest to meet the supply needs of our customers there,” Baugh wrote in an email.
Baugh said the Chinese government continues to require more stringent safety and environmental regulations, with a new law that is tougher on companies that do not meet environmental standards. He said the firm estimates these new regulations will shut down more than 50 percent of the Chinese zinc oxide market in the next five years.
According to Baugh, U.S. Zinc has a strong safety record with zero lost time accidents in the last five years and received a satisfaction rate of 91 percent from both its customer service and sales teams.
“We have won numerous awards for its safety and environmental standards, which will place us in a great position to gain more market share,” Baugh said in an email. “Additionally, this expansion will also enable us to service a market niche that needs more specialty grades of zinc oxide.”
Headquartered in Houston, U.S. Zinc supplies zinc oxide, zinc dust, zinc metal and zinc fines through its four manufacturing plants. In addition to the Changshu facility, U.S. Zinc operates two plants in Tennessee—in Millington and Clark-sville—and one in Brazil.
The firm is an affiliate of Brazil-based Votorantim Metais, one of the largest zinc producers in the world.