Strong outlook for recovering ferrochrome industry – Merafe – by Martin Creamer (MiningWeekly.com – March 8, 2017)

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JOHANNESBURG (miningweely.com) – Ferrochrome and chrome ore prices recovered from rock bottom in the first quarter of last year to levels twice and four times higher respectively in 2017, a year in which a shortage of electricity supply has ceased to be a constraining factor, ferrochrome company Merafe reports.

Despite market volatility in the 12 months to December 31, coupled with the challenges and cost pressures faced by the South African ferrochrome industry, the company, headed by CEO Zanele Matlala, reported the second highest headline earnings in its history – and goes into the new year with a strong demand outlook.

Matlala said in response to Mining Weekly Online that higher ferrochrome and chrome ore prices are expected to continue for the first quarter of 2017, which she described as being indicative of a market still in deficit.

Ferrochrome-using stainless steel production is projected to grow by 3.5% in 2017 and by 3.8% in 2018, which should be followed by increased ferrochrome demand. Merafe’s final dividend of R100.4-million brings the total dividend for 2016 to a record R120.4-million, a year-on-year increase of 83%.

“This is our highest ferrochrome revenue ever and this is also the highest chrome ore revenue ever,” Merafe FD Kajal Bissessor told a conference call in which Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online participated.

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