An explosion and fire have shut down ADVANCED SILICON MATERIALS, INC.'s polycrystalline silicon plant in Moses Lake, Washington. The company, a KOMATSU ELECTRONIC METALS CO., LTD. affiliate, has ramped up production at its polysilicon plant in Butte, Montana, which opened earlier this year, to cover any shortfall in demand from manufacturers of silicon wafers used in semiconductor production. ASiMI expects to have the Washington facility back in operation in January, although the continued slump in the chip business could affect that timing. .....The soft polysilicon market reportedly has prompted MITSUBISHI MATERIALS CORP. to postpone full operations at its new, $150 polysilicon factory in Theodore, Alabama until the spring of 1999. Commercial production began in May (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 345, June 1998, pp. 4-5).
An exchange rate of ¥121=$1.00 was used in this report.