Minerals Technologies Inc. (NYSE: MTX) announced today that its wholly owned subsidiary, Specialty Minerals Inc., has entered into a long-term agreement with The West Coast Paper Mills Limited to build and operate a satellite precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC) plant at West Coast's flagship pulp and paper mill at Dandeli, India. Dandeli is on the Kali River in the western state of Karnataka.
Specialty Minerals will own and operate the facility through its subsidiary company, Minerals Technologies India Private Limited. The plant, which will initially produce about 35,000 tons of PCC, is expected to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2011.
"Minerals Technologies is pleased and excited that West Coast Paper has selected us to provide them with PCC; and, we are looking forward to playing an important part in the growth of this excellent paper company," said Joe Muscari, chairman and chief executive officer. "The Dandeli plant will be our third facility in India, and brings our total number of satellite PCC plants in the region to 11."
Established in 1955, The West Coast Paper Mills Ltd. has grown into one of the largest paper products producers in India and has recently completed the most ambitious expansion project in its history. The centerpiece of the $305 million expansion is a best-in-class technology paper machine that has increased the mill's output from 180,000 to 320,000 metric tons per year and produces high-quality printing and writing and copy papers under the company's Copy Gold and Copy Plus brands. A new 725 ton-per-day elemental chlorine free (ECF) pulp mill and a 75-percent increase in power generation will enable the mill to be self-sufficient in pulp production and will make the company's products more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
In entering this supply relationship, West Coast Paper has recognized the value of Minerals Technologies' long history of technical leadership in the paper business. On-site PCC production will contribute to the sustainability and competitiveness of the Dandeli mill's new paper machine, which, in turn, will provide additional economic and environmental benefits to the company and the local community. A key consideration in the mill's decision process was the recent commercialization of Minerals Technologies' Fulfill(TM) technology platform. The new PCC-enabling technology allows a papermaker to significantly increase the amount of filler in the paper while maintaining paper performance.
PCC is a specialty pigment for filling and coating high-quality paper. By substituting PCC for more expensive wood fiber, customers like The West Coast Paper Mills are able to produce brighter, higher quality paper at lower cost. Minerals Technologies originated the satellite concept for making and delivering PCC on-site at paper mills and the concept was a major factor in revolutionizing North American papermaking from an acid to an alkaline-based technology. Minerals Technologies constructed its first PCC satellite plant in 1986. Today, the company has a total 55 PCC manufacturing facilities in operation or under construction around the world and continues to lead the industry with consistent quality and technical innovation.