Argex Titanium says it has signed a long term strategic cooperation agreement with East China Engineering Science and Technology Co, located in Hefei, China, to provide access to engineering skills to address the rapidly expanding Chinese demand for titanium dioxide (TiO2).
ECEC is, according to Argex, one of the largest engineering procurement and construction (EPC) companies in China and has built over 2,000 plants across a range of chemical products. “It also specialises in bringing new innovation to market with its strong and very large engineering capabilities,” Argex said.
ECEC has built more than 30 TiO2 plants in China over the past decades and is an expert in the construction of commercial technology for the manufacture of TiO2, according to the Toronto-listed company. It has also built paint production plants in China for one of the world largest paint manufacturer from Japan, it said.
“ECEC has reviewed numerous novel TiO2 production technologies and, after studying Argex, has concluded that it is now at the stage of full commercial deployment at a large scale,” Argex said.
Argex, meanwhile, intends to become a low-cost producer of TiO2 and other valuable by-products through an advanced proprietary chemical process. High-grade purity TiO2 will be produced at its facilities, serving major markets in North America and abroad, it says.
The agreement terms include a 15-year time commitment, a division of responsibility between Argex and ECEC, and a commitment to use Argex technology in China as well as other countries in which ECEC is active.
“The partners will offer EPC services to clients wishing to expand existing facilities or to construct ‘greenfield’ new plants,” Argex said. ECEC will provide marketing services in China and in other Asia countries, in addition to providing the basic engineering design based on the ore selection of a specific client. ECEC will, meanwhile, provide detail engineering and EPC contract bidding.
“The partnership with ECEC also brings ECEC’s long standing, project financing relationships with both domestic and international financial institutions,” Argex said. “ECEC sees in Argex the right partner, both, to transform the domestic TiO2 production capacity in China into environmentally-friendly and lower-cost production and also a technology partner to allow it to expand rapidly into various international markets. ECEC has built various plants across different countries in offering a full spectrum solution, bringing EPC services and financing as one full package.”
ECEC will immediately start work on three projects in parallel, the design and bidding for Argex technology centre in Quebec (pictured), Canada; a 25,000 t/y plant in China and a project in Vietnam.
“This represents an immediate financial benefit to Argex as ECEC will work on detailed engineering for all three projects in parallel, thanks to their strong and vast expertise and workforce,” Argex said.
ECEC will introduce Argex to TiO2 manufacturers in China which will become licensees for the Argex technology, according to the company.
Mazen Alnaimi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Argex, said: “We are very happy to have formed this long-term partnership for the commercial application of our technology. ECEC is a very qualified and respected contractor with tremendous experience in the construction of TiO2 plants in China.
“The growth potential in the country for TiO2 projects is very exciting and we know the Chinese government is regulating legacy technology out of existence, leading to many revamps or replacements of existing facilities.
“We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship with ECEC for years into the future and combined success in establishing the Argex technology as the preferred method of expansion in the Chinese market and throughout Asia.”