Tuesday 24th Oct, 2017

WA silicon firm victim of Trump’s tariffs

Donald Trump. Photo: Creative Commons / Gage Skidmore
Donald Trump. Photo: Creative Commons / Gage Skidmore

A West Australian silicon manufacturer is among companies impacted by US President Donald Trump’s new trade policies, after it was directly targeted in an anti-dumping ruling last week.

Simcoa produces silicon at its Kemerton smelter, north of Bunbury, in south Western Australia.

In a move US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said was “standing up” for American workers and businesses, the Trump Administration hit Australia, Brazil and Norway with preliminary tariffs of as much as 135% for alleged government subsidies.

“The US values its relationships with these nations, but even friendly countries must play by the rules,” Ross was quoted.

Simcoa, which sold roughly $44 million of silicon to the US in 2016, was explicitly mentioned in the anti-dumping ruling.

Trade minister Steven Ciobo said he was working with the company and US authorities for clarification.

“We have been in touch with Simcoa, who are assessing the preliminary determination,” Ciobo was quoted by the AFR.

Simcoa says its Kemerton site consists of two charcoal retorts, three submerged arc electrical furnaces, a filter plant for cleaning the furnace off-gases, and packaging and distribution facilities.

The company says it uses high quality raw materials – low ash charcoal and high quality quartzite – to produce a high quality project.

“These raw materials, combined with highly skilled operators and technical expertise results in a product unique in terms of consistency and quality,” the company says on its website.