Sibelco sells off Rocky QMAG site to German buyer

ROCKHAMPTON’S QMAG site is under new ownership again, this time by a German-based company.

Sibelco entered into an agreement in January to sell its Australian magnesia operations (QMAG Limited) to the Refratechnik Group.

The sale has been in negotiation for some months following regulatory approvals and was expected to be finalised in the first quarter of 2020.

The QMAG operations are centred on a mine and processing plant near Rockhampton.

The Rockhampton plant currently employs close to 150 people.

Commenting on the agreement, Sibelco CEO Jean-Luc Deleersnyder said QMAG would further improve its position as a global supplier of high-quality magnesia products by becoming part of an industrial group that specialised in both ­refractory materials and industrial minerals.

“The transaction marks another step in the refocusing of Sibelco’s portfolio on those activities where we can attain leadership positions and offer cutting-edge solutions to our customers,” he said.

Managing director of Refratechnik Holding Dr Rainer Gaebel said QMAG would complement the two other world-class magnesia operations in their group – Canadian producer, Baymag, and recent start-up Haicheng Guozheng Mining, in China.

“With a like-minded focus on performance excellence, Refratechnik looks forward to using the added joint strengths, business synergies, and increased product portfolio to ultimately deliver greater value to our customers.”

The Refratechnik Group, which has headquarters located in Munich, is a global network of companies active in the refractory and industrial mineral business.

Operating for 70 years, it is the largest family-owned ­refractory company in the world with more than 27 global locations and employing more than 1700 people.

The Rockhampton site was sold to Sibelco in April 2012.

At the time there were 400 employees.

It was the second time in a decade the Rockhampton QMAG had changed hands, previously owned by RCF, a Denver-based private investment fund.

In 2011, the Parkhurst magnesia processing plant was one of the largest and most modern in the world with an estimated replacement value of $400 million.

QMAG announced in 2011 it would buy Cement Australia’s mothballed plant, worth $20 million at the time, creating 50 new jobs and adding 100,000 tonnes per year to the company’s magnesia production.

The company has two mines, Kunwarara and Yaamba, and the magnesia processing site.