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Assmang converts Number 5 furance

The top of the new
furnace at Assmang’s
Machadodorp Works
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 12 February 2010 – South African mining group Assmang Limited has announced its decision to convert the No 5 furnace at its Machadodorp Works from ferrochrome production to high carbon ferromanganese production.

Revealing this in an announcement here, the company said all relevant regulatory requirements for the conversion were in the process of being met, and it was anticipated that No. 5 Furnace would be able to produce high carbon ferromanganese by mid-2010, at a level of about 4 000 tonnes per month.

It explained that Assmang needed to meet elevated demand for its high carbon ferromanganese, and there was no excess capacity at the Cato Ridge Works to meet that requirement at this stage.

“This decision still allows Assmang to meet its contractual commitments for the production of ferrochrome by the continued operation of its three chrome furnaces, while optimising overall alloy production by the additional production of ferromanganese,” the company said. ‘The No.5 furnace at the Machadodorp Works is already undergoing a major rebuild, which will facilitate its conversion for the production of ferromanganese.”

Difficult global economic conditions in the past two years have resulted in a reduced demand for ferrochrome. As a result, Assmang ceased operating some of its furnaces and retrenched staff at the Machadodorp Works during 2009. The decision to convert the furnace will, to some extent, offset these retrenchments made last year.

A company spokesperson said, “The Machadodorp Works will have sufficient capacity to fulfill existing ferrochrome contractual obligations. Assmang remains focused on the chrome business, and is in the process of expanding chrome ore production capacity at the Dwarsrivier Mine. There are no plans to convert any other furnaces, and the company is carrying out feasibility studies on expanding ferrochrome and ferromanganese capacity. Assmang keeps the ferrochrome and ferromanganese markets under constant review, and will continue to respond to changing market and operational requirements as necessary.”

Assmang Limited is jointly controlled by African Rainbow Minerals Limited (50%) and Assore Limited (50%) and consists of three divisions: iron ore, manganese and chrome.