JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – South Africa is an irreplaceable producer of chrome ore, which is, in turn, an irreplaceable component of stainless steel in which China is currently the leading producer, global delegates to this week’s well-attended Chromium 2017 conference heard.
As the dominant global producer, South Africa last year delivered half of the world’s production of chrome ore, half of which was used as feedstock for ferrochrome in South Africa, with the remaining 8.4-million tonnes exported. (Also watch attached Creamer Media video).
Seventy-three per cent of China’s chrome imports come from South Africa’s chrome-mining industry, which employs 17 500 people who receive R4.2-billion a year in salaries and wages.
“South Africa is without doubt an irreplaceable producer of chrome ore globally,” Tharisa Minerals COO Michelle Taylor told the conference, organised by the Paris-based International Chrome Development Association (ICDA), which was conceived in South Africa by the South African ferrochrome industry 33 years ago.
However, in ferrochrome, South Africa has been forced, through mainly negative power factors, to cede its one-time No 1 global position in this value-added product to China, which in 2016 produced 43% of world ferrochrome output compared with South Africa’s 33%.
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