Eramet Norway Porsgrunn’s history goes all the way back to 1913, when the plant was set up on Roligheten island in Porsgrunn. Today it is part of the Herøya industrial area, which is home to many other manufacturing businesses, including the fertilizer plant established by Norsk Hydro in 1928.
The plant’s original name was Porsgrund Elektrometallurgiske Aktieselskab, known locally as PEA, Metallurgen or Lurgen. It later became part of Elkem, and now Eramet. Today, the venerable smelter is more than a century old and is world leading in the production of refined manganese alloys.
In the early 20th century, Europe woke up to Norway’s abundant hydroelectric power and potential for industrialization. The Swiss company METEOR, which had electro-metallurgical operations on the Continent, became interested in Norway and eventually found a suitable power supplier and an attractive site for a smelter on the island of Roligheten in Porsgrunn. In 1913, Porsgrund Elektrometallurgiske Aktieselskab (PEA) was established.
There are currently two large furnaces in operation, Furnace 10 and Furnace 11. The original Furnace 1 from 1913 and several generations of successor furnaces have been superseded over the years. Today’s furnaces have a high capacity and offer much greater efficiency. As an example, one furnace at the smelter produced about 6000 tonnes of ferroalloys in 1915, whereas in 2014 almost 170 000 tonnes can be produced annually using two furnaces.
Job satisfaction and interesting work
Eramet Norway Porsgrunn is a modern, high-technology company with long and proud traditions. Average seniority among the workforce is 23 years, and it is not uncommon to encounter second- and third-generation employees manning the smelting furnaces. The plant is considered an attractive workplace locally, largely because of the high degree of freedom given to individual employees, and the interesting and challenging tasks assigned. Today there are about 150 workers at the plant.
In addition, the Porsgrunn plant is committed to various employee activities such as company sports teams, campaigns and contests that promote physical activity, a wine club, and a revue theatre group.
There are a number of women in key functions at the Herøya site, and the facility’s training system is well developed.
Always tackling new challenges
The pace of technological development is such that the ferroalloy industry constantly faces new challenges. The Porsgrunn plant has adapted and reorganized to keep up with the times and is well on its way to reaching its zero-emissions goal.
Eramet Norway Porsgrunn is known within Eramet Norway as the group’s most versatile processing plant. Equipped with two smelting furnaces, a refinery facility and environmental filters, the plant produces 170 000 tonnes of standard silicomanganese and refined ferromanganese annually in a wide range of qualities.
The principal ingredient for production comes from the Eramet Group’s mine in Gabon, where manganese ore is extracted. The ore is shipped from West Africa and is brought ashore at Eramet Norway in Porsgrunn.
The plant consumes 570 GWh (570 000 000 kWh) of electricity annually, from which it recovers almost 200 GWh of thermal energy by supplying CO gas to Yara’s ammonia factory at Herøya. Energy recovered from the cooling water used in processing is also utilized.
Co-located at Herøya Industrial Park
Co-location of industries at Herøya Industrial Park offers many advantages for large operations. In particular, co-location has facilitated what has become the plant’s most effective energy efficiency measure: the sale of furnace gases to Yara. This arrangement is unique in Norway and has contributed over many decades to a significant reduction in combined greenhouse gas emissions from the two companies. Furnace gas is a byproduct from production, and Yara’s use of it is an environmentally friendly alternative to consuming fossil fuels.
One of Eramet Norway Porsgrunn’s objectives is to further improve its performance in partnership with the Grenland region’s centres of excellence.
Collaborative projects at the Herøya Industrial Park include:
- A shared industrial safety organization
- The Grenland Industrial Cluster (ICG)
- Access to the Bilfinger staffing agency, which supplies temporary replacements to all businesses at Herøya
- A shared, internet-based apprentice recruiting platform
- Consulting companies and engineering firms providing clusters of expertise near the plant
Eramet Norway Porsgrunn actively fosters good relations between the company and the local community.
Ongoing initiatives include:
- meetings with neighbours
- class visits from schools
- in-school presentations
Eramet Porsgrunn also provides significant financial support to local sports teams and bands, and has a long-term sponsorship agreement with the Grenland Free Theatre and the Porsgrunn International Theatre Festival (PIT).
The Grenland region, which consists of Porsgrunn, Skien and surrounding municipalities, is Norway in miniature. The shoreline skerries to the south and the mountains in the north are playgrounds for outdoor recreation year round. In addition, there is always a lot going on in the region, which is home to nearly 100 000 residents.
- Herøya Industrial Park brings together around 90 businesses that are very diverse in terms of size and business sector.
- Grenland Industrial Cluster is a forum for member companies to discuss issues of mutual concern and the current political agenda.
- Porsgrunn municipality’s website contains information on services, policies and administration, and facts about Porsgrunn.
Eramet Norway Porsgrunn AS
Postal address: PO Box 82, 3901 Porsgrunn, Norway
Street address: Rolighetsv. 11, Porsgrunn
Tel: +47 35 56 18 00
Fax: +47 35 55 36 10
Business identification no.: 980 518 647