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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Auto Catalyst Plant to Start Work in 2007

British platinum-group-metal specialist Johnson Matthey expects its first trial shipments from a new auto catalyst plant in Siberia by the end of 2007, the company's general manager in Russia said Monday.

Mikhail Piskulov said the company had secured contracts with Norilsk Nickel and the Krastsvetmet precious metals refinery to supply palladium and rhodium to make catalytic converters for the booming automotive sector.

"It's possible we could also source metals from other suppliers, although we haven't yet held such talks," Piskulov said.

Johnson Matthey has invested more than $10 million in the plant in Krasnoyarsk, which will produce 500,000 to 1 million units per year from several hundred kilograms of metal.

"The buildings are ready. We've received all necessary permission. Now we are installing equipment," Piskulov said.

Full production would begin next year, although he did not say when the plant would hit capacity: "The volume of new production always grows step by step. It will depend on the number of orders".

Palladium and rhodium have both risen in value in the last year as demand for the metals has been boosted by tighter regulations on carbon emissions from vehicle exhausts.

Norilsk Nickel accounts for more than half of global mined supply of palladium. Some of this is refined at Krastsvetmet, a plant adjacent to the new auto catalyst plant in Krasnoyarsk.