Imerys do Brasil MineraÃ§ao Ltda. of Sao Paulo is relocating and expanding part of its calcium carbonate production line in Brazil, through a $2 million investment.
By July 2003, the firm intends to transfer production of calcium carbonate grades with particles measuring 3-4 microns in diameter from Cachoeiro de Itapemirim to Moji das Cruzes, a small city in the Sao Paulo area. The company already has an industrial site in Moji das Cruzes, where it produces other grades.
To start, Imerys will add some auxiliary equipment to that unit to boost capacity 50 percent in the product line being relocated, to 6.6 million pounds per month.
In a second phase, to go into effect by the second half of 2004, the company will acquire specific machinery to produce ultrathin grades, with particle diameters of 1-1.2 microns.
``The change of sites focuses on establishing our plant in the main consumer market in Brazil, reducing delivery time and improving logistics costs,'' said Letícia da Rocha MendonÃ§a, business manager for Imerys' plastics sector in South America. ``The introduction of the ultrathin line is aimed at penetrating a market niche that is only served through imports.''
The 3- to 4-micron type of calcium carbonate caters to end markets such as injection molded auto parts, tubes and joints, cables and wires and packaging. The ultrafine grade will be marketed mainly for films for flexible food packaging and for manufacturing diapers or plastic bags.
Imerys do Brasil is a subsidiary of the French group Imerys. The Brazilian unit also supplies the painting, ceramic, paper, steel, health-care, personal-care and cosmetic sectors. The plastics business accounts for 30 percent of the operation's total sales and amounted to 10.4 million pounds of calcium carbonate products in 2002.