In addition, strong orders are continuing at its Kwinana operations, with the company receiving the first commercial order from Japan for its new granulated product CG-15, following a successful trial order in July.
Shares are up more than 9% today to 19.7 cents.
‘Pedal to the metal’ since IPO
WA Kaolin chief executive officer Andrew Sorensen said: “Following our successful IPO on November 26, it has been very much a case of pedal to the metal commencing the Stage 1 ramp-up at Wickepin.
“Our founder and executive director Alf Baker has been onsite at Wickepin for three weeks now, overseeing the start of construction.
“Most significantly, the completion of the earthworks on site paves the way for the laying of foundations and pouring the slab for the plant building.
“Simultaneously we have awarded numerous key contracts that will prove to be integral in the ramp-up, in addition to purchasing some of the larger items required to boost the production rates at Wickepin."
To commence commercial production
The CEO added: “At our Kwinana plant, not only have we witnessed a steady flow of orders from our customer base, in January we will commence commercial production to supply a new granulated product, CG-15, used within the ceramics industry.
“This is a fantastic result for WA Kaolin as we have spent a number of years developing the granular product form and it is fantastic to roll it out.
“I am very pleased with our activities carried out in our first weeks as a listed entity and I look forward to providing shareholders with further updates as we continue in the construction of Stage 1 at Wickepin.”
Operational update at Wickepin
Earthworks on site for preparing for the plant building slab and drainage works have been completed and a 150,000 litre water tank has been installed and filled.
The demountable building foundations have also been completed with the delivery of the demountable offices, crib room and facilities scheduled for completion this week.
A number of significant contracts key in the construction of Stage 1 have recently been awarded.
➢ Building Structural Design & Construction to AUSPAN;
➢ Rotary kiln to ANERGY (Ansac);
➢ Product silos;
➢ Automated container loading system to TEH Latvia; and
➢ Water tanks.
All of the contracts were awarded to West Australian companies, except for one.
The company has also completed the purchase of key items of machinery integral to the construction program, including the telescopic handler and construction power genset.
Construction of the bagging stations, which involves the fabrication of eight bulk bag filling frames ready to accept the materials handling automation equipment, has commenced.
Strong orders at Kwinana
At the Kwinana operations, production is at a rate of up to 5 tonnes per hour.
Strong orders are continuing, resulting in the company having to cut its Christmas break period to one week to meet the increased orders.
Significantly, WA Kaolin received its first commercial order for new product CG-15 from Japan last week.
The CG-15 is a new granulated product provided for the ceramics industry that WA Kaolin has been developing over the last 18 months.