Thursday, 14 June 2012

Terengganu home for refinery

MALAYSIA will house Asia's largest biorefinery complex in Terengganu.

The complex, which the government has allocated RM170 million for its infrastructure, is expected to generate a cumulative gross national income of RM20.4 billion by 2020 and produce 2,500 green-jobs.

The East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) has teamed up with the Terengganu government and Malaysian Biotechnology Corp Sdn Bhd (BiotechCorp) to facilitate the project.

ECERDC chief executive officer Datuk Jebasingam Issace John said with the biorefinery project, ECER now had secured more than RM10 billion in investments.

From the total, RM2.1 billion investments were from Pahang, RM5 billion from Johor and RM500 million from Kelantan. Terengganu makes up the balance.

ECERDC expects total investments to hit RM15 billion this year.

Jebasingam said the complex would be the first in Malaysia to use cellulosic feedstock to produce bioderivatives such as advanced carbohydrates, biochemicals, biomaterials, biofertilisers and active feed ingredient.

He was speaking after the signing ceremony, which was witnessed by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said, here yesterday.

BiotechCorp CEO Datuk Mohd Nazlee Kamal said the 1,000ha complex was expected to be occupied by eight global industrial biotechnology players by 2015, with estimated RM6.8 billion in foreign direct investment.

"To ensure uninterrupted downstream operations, 30,000ha have been set aside as dedicated feedstock plantations that will produce 10.5 million tonnes of wood chips annually from Acacia mangium and Leucaena leucocephala," he said.

Construction of the complex, located at the Kertih Biopolymer Park, is slated to begin in August, with operations starting early 2014.

BiotechCorp and ECERDC have already secured RM2 billion investment from a joint-venture between Korea's CJ CheilJedang and France's Arkema to build the world's first bio-methionine facility there.