PFP was established as a state enterprise in Pobugskoe, in the Kirovograd region of Ukraine, in 1972, to produce ferromanganese, ferromolybdenum, ferronickel, ferrosilicon, and other ferroalloys. Due to the low profitability of processing locally supplied low-grade nickel ores, the plant had been in receivership and idle for over 3 years prior to its acquisition by the Solway Investment Group in 2003.
Solway implemented a modernization plan for PFP in 2004 and production recommenced in 2005. The facility was converted to single commodity production: ferronickel produced from laterite nickel ores imported from the South Pacific Region and Central America. Today, PFP is the only effective ferronickel producer in Ukraine. The plant is a leading player in the global market, supplying the stainless-steel sector, and has a strong, ongoing commitment to social responsibility.
PFP’s current annual production capacity is over 1,100 thousand metric tons of dry laterite ore, which is processed into 22,000 metric tons of contained nickel in FeNi per year.
Since 2003, the Group has invested over US $200 million into modernizing PFP. The modernization process included rebuilding the electric furnace and installing rotary kilns and waste heat recovery technology. Solway engaged Hatch Engineering to perform a feasibility study for the reconstruction of the plant’s furnaces in 2011, to effect a 29% increase in its production capacity. In 2013-14, Solway invested US $15 million to improve the plant’s operating efficiency through energy-saving initiatives, including the installation of waste heat recovery units and switching to pulverized coal. Further improvements are scheduled to upgrade gas-cleaning and dust removal systems.
In recent years, Solway made significant contributions to the municipal development of the neighboring Ukrainian town of Pobugskoe, including developing the local infrastructure, providing educational grants, offering low-interest loans, and making donations to local culture, sports, and healthcare. Over 1,700 local residents are employed at the plant and hundreds of local contractors are hired to service it.
The Group’s total investment in the social infrastructure of the plant’s neighboring town of Pobugskoe is estimated at US $6.5 million through 2017.