Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 01 February 2012 – Merafe Resources “’ a partner with Xstrata South Africa (Pty) Limited in the Xstrata-Merafe Chrome Venture, the world’s largest ferrochrome producer “’ has revealed that attributable production of ferrochrome declined to 263,000t in the year ended December 2011, from 300,000t the previous year.
In a production report released here, the company said that ferrochrome volumes had been adversely affected by industrial action during the second half of the year. The industrial action had resulted in production facilities running at a reduced capacity for 38 days.
It added that scheduled maintenance during the high electricity tariff winter months and subsequent weaker market conditions, compounded by industrial action, had resulted in reduced production at its ferrochrome smelters. Installed capacity utilisation reduced to an average of 65% for 2011 and production volumes were 12% lower than 2010.
The average European benchmark ferrochrome price for 2011 of US$1.25 per pound remained at a similar level compared to 2010. Due to weaker demand for stainless steel, the European benchmark ferrochrome price for the first quarter of 2012 was settled at US$1.15 per pound, which was $0.05 per pound lower than the price in the fourth quarter of 2011.