Coogee Chemicals

The right chemistry

As a diversified manufacturer of chemicals and a major tank terminal operator, Coogee Chemicals enters 2013 with the clear aim of continuing the work that has made it one of the sector’s biggest success stories.

Formed in the early 1970s by thirteen individual investors, most of them farmers, Coogee Chemicals has since created a significant place for itself in Australia’s chemical industry. A privately owned company that is fiercely proud of its Western Australian heritage, Coogee Chemicals is responsible for producing a wide range of industrial, agricultural and mineral processing chemicals for supply to both local and international markets.

Coogee Chemicals’ business today is divided between three core divisions, chemicals manufacturing, tank terminals and transport and logistics. From its tank terminals in Kwinana, Western Australia, the company plays host to many of the major players in the fuel market, while its sulphuric acid terminal is recognised as being the largest acid storage facility in the Southern hemisphere. In addition to this, Coogee Chemicals operates bulk liquid terminal facilities for the import, export and storage of chemicals and fuels, while its dangerous goods transport operations in Western Australia and Queensland complement the services it provides its customers.

Among the many different chemicals manufactured by the company are aluminium sulphate, both in liquid and solid forms, chlorine, copper oxide, ferrous sulphate, hydrochloric and sulphuric acid, methanol, liquid sodium hydro chlorite and sodium cyanide.

As well as its products, Coogee Chemicals continues to invest significant resources into its research into various products and facilities, specifically gem fuel, tiro titanium and a world scale methanol plant.

A clean burning, high energy fuel made from non-petroleum energy sources, methanol has been commercially blended into gasoline since the early 1980s and has also been successfully used for extending gasoline supplies in many prominent markets throughout the world.

As Australia’s only methanol producer, Coogee Chemicals is in the process of putting into place an extensive test program and trial fleet of vehicles operating on methanol blended fuel, served by fuel dispensing outlets at each of the company’s sites across Australia. The first of these vehicles is already on the road, with more set to follow in the months ahead. During these early trials each vehicle will be independently monitored in order to highlight its performance and durability.

Elsewhere, Coogee Chemicals, together with CSIRO, is developing what it refers to as the TiRO process for the continuous direct production of titanium powder. Coogee Chemicals has been involved in this $12 million project since 2008 and is currently constructing a continuous pilot plant in Victoria, which is the next step towards world-scale production.

The third project that the company is deeply involved in is the construction of the world’s most energy and carbon efficient methanol plant. This high value-add, world-scale plant will utilise an energy efficient, low-carbon manufacturing process in order to provide significant reductions in emissions. The proposed facility will be one of the world’s largest plants of its kind, boasting a production capacity of approximately 1.8 million tonnes of methanol per annum. The manufacturing process will be based on the scale-up of the LCM technology that the company is currently using to good effect at its Laverton plant. Upon completion, it is expected that this plant will be responsible for setting a new global benchmark for large scale, low carbon chemical production.

Like all responsible corporate entities, Coogee Chemicals is aware of its requirement to meet the environmental, social and economic needs of the communities around which is operates. As well as its commitment to providing a safe and healthy workplace for its employees, the company also promotes their wellbeing by offering a range of services from complimentary healthy assessments to influenza vaccination programmes.

The company’s facilities are designed and operated so as have as little an impact on the environment as is necessary and, wherever possible, materials are recycled and reused to minimise the amount of waste produced. By working closely with community groups, Coogee Chemicals is striving to get a better understanding of the social, environmental and economic implications of its activities. Such understanding will enable it to enhance the benefits of its activities, while eliminating any negative impact.

Maintaining strong relations with the aforementioned communities is equally as important and as such Coogee Chemicals looks to actively contribute to their on-going prosperity and progress. Its involvement includes providing support to sponsorship programmes, making donations to a host of important non-governmental organisations and providing employment and training opportunities. One scheme that the company is supporting today is the LyriK youth incentive programme. This aims to recognise and reward young people for their positive acts and provide development opportunities and skills that will assist them in later life.

From its humble beginnings in 1971, Coogee Chemicals has subsequently developed into a strong, diversified organisation that possesses a strong desire to grow in a sustainable fashion. In 2012, the company successfully acquired the chlor-alkali manufacturing business, Elite Chemicals, from GE Corporation. Elite Chemicals’ manufacturing facility is located at the port of Brisbane and is responsible for the production of sodium hypochlorite, hydrochloric acid and caustic soda for the water treatment industry and local industrial customers.

Elite Chemicals’ business also includes operational branches in Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton and New South Wales, meaning that this acquisition provides Coogee Chemicals with a number of new business growth opportunities. Such acquisitions highlight the fact that the company indeed sees its future as being full of exciting new challenges.

Written by Will Daynes, research by Jeff Abbott