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Merafe chrome output drops

Merafe ferrochrome
production “’ way
down on last year
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 29 July 2009 – JSE-listed Merafe Resources “’ a company with interests in ferrochrome and coal in South Africa “’ says the global downturn has led to a 60% fall in ferrochrome output in the first half of the year at its chrome joint venture with Xstrata.

In a statement released here the company revealed that output had slumped to 63 000 tonnes in the six months to 30 June 2009, compared to the same period last year, after the firm had suspended 80% of its production capacity due to weaker ferrochrome prices.

The company said the global economic downturn had caused a drop in demand of ferrochrome, an alloy used in stainless steel to prevent corrosion.

Most producers in South Africa, “’ the world’s biggest producer “’ as well as in the global ferrochrome industry, have slashed output by around two-thirds in recent months in response to lower demand resulting from the international economic downturn.

Merafe said the ferrochrome average price for the first half of 2009 had been 74 U.S cents, compared with 156.5 cents during the first half of 2008.