Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 09 December 2008 – African Rainbow Minerals Limited (ARM) – a major producer of platinum, chrome and nickel in South Africa – has announced that, due to a further deterioration in the stainless steel market, Assmang Limited has decided to shut down its Number 2 Furnace at the company’s Machadodorp ferrochrome works with immediate effect.
Assmang – jointly controlled by ARM and Assore Limited – explained in a statement here that after the earlier shutdown of furnaces 3 and 5, the smelter would only be operating one furnace, which equates to approximately 30% of capacity. Chrome ore production at the company’s Dwarsrivier chrome mine would also be adjusted commensurately in the new year.
This announcement followed one at the end of October stating that Assmang was closing two ferrochrome furnaces in the country as a result of weakening demand. The company said significant adverse changes in the dynamics of the global economy had led to a downturn cycle in most economic sectors. “The most significant immediate impact is the sudden decline in demand for our products in the spot commodity markets, more specifically the demand for ferrochrome and chrome ores,” it explained.
The statement added that ARM, together with its partners, would review the situation on all operations on an ongoing basis, taking cognisance of the uncertain market conditions. The market would continue to be closely monitored to evaluate when the idle capacity could be re-started.