The Degussa Group announced plans to build a new sodium cyanide plant in Mobile, Ala., and to expand its Wesseling, West Germany cyanide facility by 50 percent.
The combined expansion will bring Degussa's world sodium cyanide capacity to approximately 180 million pounds a year. The U.S. plant, to be completed in early 1991, will have a rated capacity of 60 million pounds a year.Degussa has been supplying sodium cyanide to the North American market
from Europe, and has targeted the gold industry as a significant market niche.
North America is the second largest gold producing region in the free world and industry estimates that over $1 billion has been invested in gold property development which has not yet been brought into production in North America, a Degussa spokesman said.
The expanded European capacity serve the current demand for cyanide and provide the company with capacity for increased demand when planned gold mines come on-stream in the early 1990s, the spokesman added.
Vasant Tarkas, Degussa's marketing manager for cyanide chemicals, noted that, We will not ship liquid cyanide for safety reasons. A sophisticated handling and distribution system for solid sodium cyanide is essential.
Sodium cyanide is used for precious metals leaching, electroplating and as an intermediate in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and polymers.
Degussa refines precious metals in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Singapore, and West Germany. The group is a venture partner in mining consortiums in Papua New Guinea, Australia, Canada, and Brazil.
In the United States, Degussa operates plants in Alabama, California,
Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. It serves the agriculture, automotive, chemical, ceramic, dental, detergent, electronic, environmental, glass, paper, plastics and elastomeric and textile industries.