Curtin Malaysia students visit Sakura Ferroalloys


Miri – 27 September 2018 – 27 undergraduate students of the Faculty of Engineering and Science of Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) recently went on a study visit to the Sakura Ferroalloys plant in Samalaju Industrial Park, Bintulu.

They were accompany by chemical engineering senior lecturers Dr. Bridgid Chin Lai Fui and Dr. Zeinab Abbas Jawad.

Hosting them were Sakura Ferroalloys’ operations manager Rudolph Du Preez and production engineer Bernadine Bungan Salo.

The visit to the industrial high carbon ferro-manganese and silicon manganese manufacturing plant was organised by Curtin Malaysia’s Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Student Chapter with support from its Department of Chemical Engineering.

During the visit, the students toured the plant facilities and observed its operations. They learned to differentiate the different grades of high carbon ferro-manganese and silicon manganese produced. They also observed the smelting process, which consists of several stages from receiving, storing and screening the raw materials, to the mixing, smelting, tapping, casting, cooling and crushing stages, and finally, shipping of the finished products.

The Sakura Ferroalloys plant is set on 100 hectares of reclaimed palm oil land and houses two modern, energy-efficient ‘dual product’ submerged electrical arc furnaces (SAF). One of the furnaces produces approximately 107,000 tons of high carbon ferro-manganese while the other produces approximately 67,000 tons of silicon manganese.

The furnaces have the ability to switch between producing high carbon ferro-manganese and silicon manganese, giving the plant the flexibility to fully produce either type for commercial purposes. 

Ferro-manganese and ferro-alloys are the basic constituents in the production of carbon, alloy steel and alloy iron. They are commonly used for de-oxidation, de-sulphurisation and refining of steel. They are also used as reducing agents to produce other metals.

Third-year chemical engineering student and IChemE Student Chapter organising chairperson, Fanthagiro Rossi Stuard Majing, said the visit was a great opportunity for the students to learn about ferroalloys manufacturing and the operations of a large industrial plant, as well as how Sakura Ferroalloys controls the manufacturing process using its process control system.

According to Dr. Chin, who is the student chapter’s academic advisor, it was the first visit by students of Curtin Malaysia to the plant and it was a real eye-opener for them. She added that such visits are aligned to the industry focus of Curtin’s courses and the university’s commitment to enriching the student experience.

The Curtin Malaysia IChemE Student Chapter serves to promote the latest developments and advances in the field of chemical engineering among Curtin Malaysia students as well as create networking opportunities by bringing both students and industrial representatives together. This allows the students to expand their professional networks and learning well beyond the classroom.

For more information on the student chapter, email, visit its Facebook page at, or its website

Sakura Ferroalloys Sdn. Bhd. is a tripartite joint venture between Assmang Ltd. of South Africa, Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation and Taiwan’s China Steel Corporation. Sakura Ferroalloys is one of three companies involved in ferroalloy and manganese production in Samalaju Industrial Park besides OM Materials (Sarawak) Sdn. Bhd. and Pertama Ferroalloys Sdn. Bhd.

For more information on Curtin Malaysia, visit its website (, its Facebook page (CurtinMalaysia), Twitter profile (curtinmalaysia), Google+ page (Curtin Malaysia), Instagram (curtinmalaysia) or YouTube channel (Curtin Malaysia).

The Curtin Malaysia chemical engineering students at the Sakura Ferroalloys plant.