KUCHING: Four plantation companies are teaming up with Assar Refinery Services Sdn Bhd and Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corp (STIDC) to develop a RM300mil integrated palm oil downstream complex in Tanjung Manis, Mukah Division in central Sarawak.
The companies are Tradewinds Plantations Bhd, Rimbunan Hijau group, Multi Maximium Sdn Bhd (a subsidiary of Ta Ann Holdings Bhd) and Bintulu Lumber Development Sdn Bhd (a subsidiary of BLD Plantations Bhd).
Under the proposed joint-venture project, a palm oil refinery together with a kernel crusher plant will be built.
A letter of intent for the project was signed in Kuching yesterday. The signatories were Tradewinds chairman Datuk Wira Syed Abdul Jabbar, Rimbunan Hijau senior manager (investment) Tiong Hock Chai, Ta Ann group executive chairman Datuk Hamed Sepawi, BLD Plantations managing director Datuk Henry Lau Lee Kong, Assar Senari Holdings Sdn Bhd group chief executive officer Syed Mohd Hussein and STIDC general manager Len Talif Salleh.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud witnessed the signing ceremony.
Assar Senari, the parent company of Assar Refinery Services, and STIDC signed a separate letter of intent for the master development of the various components of the integrated project on 46ha.
Also to be built are a petroleum storage terminal, an oil and gas jetty, and a petrochemical and oleochemical park to serve the central region.
The development of other palm oil downstream facilities like biodiesel and oleochemical plants is likely to take place later when there is an abundant supply of crude palm oil (CPO) in the central region.
Assar group chairman Tan Sri Bujang Mohd Nor said the proposed integrated development project was based on the model of the Assar Senari industrial complex in Senari, Kuching.
The Kuching project is expected to be completed in two months.
“When the palm oil refinery is operational in Tanjung Manis, it is expected to save smallholders, commercial plantations and millers millions of ringgit annually in transportation costs,” he added.
Bujang said the CPO and palm kernel in the central region were now transported several hundred kilometres away for processing in Bintulu or Kuching.
He said the proposed 67km Sibu-Tanjung Manis road was expected to be ready by end-2009.
Tanjung Manis, which has a deepsea port and houses the country’s largest integrated timber complex, is strategically located and blessed with natural draft of 11m to 13m to take in vessels of up to 15,000-tonne deadweight.
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