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    Indonesian zircon sand prices would continue to rise
    ----Interview with Golen Kuo
    General Manager
    PT. Irvan Prima Pratama
    PT. Irvan Prima Pratama, as the largest zircon producer in Indonesia, has zircon resources in Kalimantan Tenga, Kalimantan Barat and Kepulauan Bangka Belitung, Indonesia.

    Asian Metal: Hi, Mr. Kuo, thank you very much for accepting our interview. Now please introduce your company’s main business firstly.

    Mr. Kuo: We are mainly involved in production and sales of zircon, titanium concentrate as well as rutile in Kalimantan Tenga, Kalimantan Barat and Kepulauan Bangka Belitung, Indonesia.

    Asian Metal: How about the quality of your finished products?

    Mr. Kuo: We are producing Indonesian zircons with stable quality. The zircon indexes: Zr(Hf)O2 66%min, Fe2O3 0.1%max, TiO2 0.15%max; Zr(Hf)O2 65.5%min, Fe2O3 0.15%max, TiO2 0.15%max for a small volume.

    Asian Metal: Mr. Kuo, we are wondering about your current zircon production? Would you like to share with us?

    Mr. Kuo: Of course. Over the past one year, our production volume of Indonesian zircon sands was around 1,200-1,500t per month in average. In the second quarter of 2018, our production volume is expected to be 2,500-3,000t per month.

    Asian Metal: The zircon sand market prices have continued to appreciate till now since late 2016. What’s your opinion about the price trend for zircon, Indonesian one in particular, in the following months of 2018?

    Mr. Kuo: The zircon market remains tightly supplied, with strong price increases throughout 2017 and significant further rises already in 2018. In the third and fourth quarter of 2018, I believe that Indonesian zircon sand prices might continue to rise. It is worth mentioning that the export prices to India etc. would still be USD50-80/t higher than those to Chinese mainland.

    Asian Metal: Compared with mainstream Australian and South African zircons, what are the characteristics and main downstream industries for Indonesian zircons?

    Mr. Kuo: Indonesian zircons, especially from Kalimantan Tengah, are famous for the whiteness, which are commonly used in zirconium silicate or ceramic industry. While the ones from Kalimantan Barat and Kepulauan Bangka Belitung are applicable to refractory industry etc.

    Asian Metal: Could you please introduce current supply status for Indonesian zircon? Is there any possibility that the market supply would increase significantly with the continuously rising prices?

    Mr. Kuo: The total supply of Indonesian zircons per month is no more than 4,000-6,000t now. As a reaction to overabundant government decrees in Indonesia, it is very difficult for new investors to enter into zircon industry there. Besides, a great many enterprises all over the world, Chinese mainland in particular, have made failed investments in Indonesian zircon projects, and thus they become very cautious in further investments. So we think that there are slim chances for Indonesian zircon production to ramp up too much in spite of consistently rising prices for the material.

    Asian Metal: How are the policies of Indonesian local government on zircon production and exports?

    Mr. Kuo: As far as I am concerned, Indonesian local government, especially in Kalimantan Tengah, would make the related policies on the regulation of zircon production and exports stricter taking account of their own interest.
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