African Quartz Silicon intends to establish a Submerged ARC Furnace Plant in the Upington Special Economic Zone (SEZ) on the Silicon Corridor in the Northern Cape of South Africa. This Greenfields project will be linked to the Riemvasmaak Quartz Mine, Silicon Crystal-Growing Production Factory and the Silicon Photovoltaic Module Manufacturing Factory where the (Quartz) SiO2 is beneficiated to silicon. Silicon is the foundation for today’s information society, which is the main driver of Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The picture on the left illustrates the Submerged ARC Furnace Plant that will be established on the Silicon Corridor in the Orange River Pegmatite Belt in close proximally of the quartz pegmatites to reduce costs.
Submerged ARC Furnace Plant is an important technology to produce pure silicon, the oxygen contained in the silica (SiO2) is removed with the help of carbon. Since silicon and oxygen are atomically very closely related, carbon and oxygen in silica (quartz rocks) bind to form carbon monoxide only at very high temperatures of around 1,800 °C. The carbon monoxide is discharged, leaving only the silicon.