Mississippi Silicon LLC staged a grand opening event for its new metallurgical silicon plant at Burnsville, MS, a $200-million project described as “the first silicon metal manufacturing facility to be built in the United States in more than 40 years.” It was completed earlier this year and has been in start-up mode since September.
Currently, the new plant employs about 100 workers, a total that is expected to rise to 125 by the end of December, and eventually to 200 workers.
Silicon is an element that in its unalloyed state is described as silicon metal. It is refined from ore in electric arc furnaces to a purity of 95% or greater. Its major commercial application is for alloying aluminum, to produce AlSi for cast products -- auto parts being a major example of the finished cast parts.
Mississippi Silicon offers as examples of its applications “computer chips … automotive manufacturing (and) chemicals used in industrial, commercial and consumer applications.”
The 170,000-sq.ft. plant includes two submerged-arc furnaces designed and installed by SMS Siemag, with a total capacity of 36,000 metric tons/year. The furnaces are designed with rotating shells that help to reduce cold spots in the melt and prevent carbide deposits from collecting on the furnace walls.
SMS also supplied the furnace electrode columns, the material handling system, hydraulic systems, and proprietary electrical and automation systems. Overhead furnace cranes, a chemical laboratory, and stoking and charging machines were included in the scope of supply as well.
Mississippi Silicon is a joint venture of the Vicintin family (Brazilian investors who control The Rima Group, a producer of silicon-based alloys primary magnesium) and CleanTech LLC, a private-equity investment group with holdings in chemicals, industrials, oil-and-gas, transportation, and utilities.
“Mississippi Silicon, with the latest technology and most environmentally friendly equipment available in the world, will be the premier silicon manufacturing facility in our industry,” stated Ricardo Vicintin, Mississippi Silicon chairman and Rima Industrial CEO. “Our company could not be any prouder of what has been accomplished here in a short amount of time and the impact it will have for decades to come in the local community and the silicon metal industry as a whole.”