Manufactured Capital

Manufactured Capital in the mining context relates to the mining and smelting process and how it is conducted as well as the assets which are being mined and beneficiated. It is important to an organisation's sustainability because its efficient use allows an organisation to be flexible and innovative and increases the speed at which it delivers.

Material issues

  • Health and safety
  • Project execution
  • Pricing and the availability of electricity
  • Raw material availability
  • Business continuity and profitability
  • Investing in new technology to increase energy efficiency
  • Industrial action
  • Community issues

We enhance our Manufactured Capital by:

  • employing our infrastructure, technologies and processes to use our resources most efficiently; and
  • devising technology and management systems that reduce our waste and emissions.
Key points – 2022
Merafe’s attributable ferrochrome production 384kt (2021: 379kt)
Cost of ferrochrome production per tonne increased by 30% (2021: 5% decrease)
(2021: Nil)
No industrial action
Railway and port challenges
Pricing and availability of electricity challenges
TRIFR performance of 2.40 (2021: 2.80*)

* Restated from 2.75 to 2.80

Glencore-Merafe Chrome Venture operations

  • 1 Rustenburg ferrochrome plant and Tswelopele pelletising and sinter plant
  • 2Boshoek ferrochrome plant and Motswedi pelletising and sinter plant
  • 3Boshoek Mine
  • 4Wonderkop ferrochrome plant and Bokamoso pelletising and sinter plant
  • 5Waterval (east and west) and Marikana mines
  • 6Kroondal Mine and PGMs plant
  • 7Thorncliffe Mine
  • 8Lion ferrochrome plant
  • 9Lydenburg ferrochrome plant
  • 10Helena Mine
  • 11Magareng Mine

Operational review

Merafe's attributable ferrochrome production increased marginally by 1% from 379kt to 384kt for the year ended 31 December 2022. This was despite the electricity supply challenges experienced particularly in the second half of the year.

Lydenburg smelter, Rustenburg furnace 6 and Waterval mine remain under care and maintenance.

Total unit cost of ferrochrome production rose by 30%. The increase was mainly driven by general inflation, higher market ore prices, reductant prices and electricity tariffs. Reductant costs were impacted by higher market cost of coke and anthracite. Inadequate local supply of reductants continues to be a challenge and as a result the Venture had to import at higher prices.

Massive logistic challenges continue to plague the industry, contributing to increased logistic costs. The increased reliance on road transportation, combined with higher diesel cost has pushed this cost component higher.

The Venture's decarbonisation objectives are aligned with those of Glencore Plc. Our portfolio profile provides the flexibility to decarbonise our footprint with a target of achieving a 50% reduction in our total CO2e emissions by 2035. Some of our strategic elements towards achieving our target include managing our operational footprint as well as taking advantage of opportunities to reduce our scope 3 emissions.


Reliability of supply and escalating costs remain key risks for our business. Electricity tariffs increased by 9.61% effective 1 April 2022. The National Energy Regulator of South Africa has approved a tariff increase of 18.65% effective 1 April 2023. The hike will certainly add more cost pressures. The Venture's operations were impacted by curtailments stage 3 and 4 having to reduce load.

The Venture continues to pursue a Negotiated Pricing Agreement with Eskom to mitigate against the unsustainable high energy costs. In addition, the Venture is evaluating proposals for construction or renewable energy facilities.

Venture safety performance

Venture safety performance

TRIFR 2008–2022

Venture safety performance


The cost of reductants was impacted by increased market prices and a shortage of local supply of anthracite and coke, necessitating imports which are more expensive.


The Venture was fatality free for the year 2022 and remains so for the first two months of 2023. Our total recordable injury frequency rate (TRIFR) improved by 14.29% to 2.40 (December 2021: 2.80*).

The safety of our employees is our number one priority and we therefore remain focused on the implementation of SafeWork 2.0 with the aim of continual improvement and the effective implementation of the fatal hazard protocols and safety standards.

* Restated


COVID-19 continues to be a risk that we need to manage from a health perspective in the workplace and where controls must be implemented to manage the potential spread of the virus. The COVID-19 procedures have now been embedded at our operations as standard operating procedures.

On average a total of 10 023 antigen tests were conducted during 2022, in total 71 506 tests have been conducted on site since we started carrying out tests in January 2021. For the reporting period, 390 members of our workforce tested positive compared to 2 873 positive cases for the full year in 2021. Since the beginning of COVID-19 we have had 4 100 positive cases in total.

We supplied vaccinations at our operations until the end of April 2022. In total, 21 520 vaccines were administered, of which 4 438 were given in 2022.

As previously reported in our interim results, it is with great sadness that we lost two of our colleagues due to COVID-19 in 2022.

Railways and ports

The deteriorating infrastructure of the railways and the ports continues to be a challenge to the South African ferrochrome industry. The inability of the railways to transport our product and inefficiency at the ports causes an excessive reliance on road transport. Inefficiency at the ports also results in backlog and delays at the harbours. This not only results in delays in shipping our product (and impacts the reputation of South African producers as being reliable suppliers), but also creates opportunities for corruption and theft. The Venture continues to engage proactively with the governmental departments in its attempt to find solutions to these critical issues.

Western Chrome mines

Merafe and Glencore reached an agreement in 2021 to construct a Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) plant at the Kroondal mine. The PGMs plant’s main operations is the treatment of material arising from the Venture’s mining operations and tailings facilities in Western Chrome mines. The PGMs plant has the capacity to treat 21kt of PGM-bearing material per month.

For the year under review, the Venture’s feed into the plant ramped up to 159kt from 14kt in 2021.

Power and ore consumption efficiencies

Venture safety performance

Chrome ore production


The Chrome mines’ (including UG2) saleable chrome ore production for 2022 is 1% more than the previous year.

Lower tonnages (4%) at the UG2 operations were mainly due to less feed received from external PGMs concentrators.

Chrome produced at the mines in 2022 was 4% more than in 2021 due to better mining efficiencies, more sweepings tons than 2021 and tailings retreatment project included for full year in 2022.


The Chrome mines’ (including UG2) saleable chrome ore production cost for 2022 were 14% more than the prior year.

Production costs from mines were 9% more than the prior year due to above inflation, diesel, explosive, electricity, steel cost plus higher maintenance cost on TMM equipment.

Production costs from the UG2 platinum tailings were 32% more than the prior year mainly due to higher prices paid for raw material from PGMs producers. (Linked to Chrome ore market prices).

Resources and reserves

The Venture has in excess of 30 years of ore available at the current rate of mining.

Quantitative data of the Venture

The quantitative data of the Venture is set out in the sections that follow. Merafe’s attributable portion of such data is 20.5%.

The Glencore-Merafe Chrome Venture's operations


Plants Capacity Technology Mines
Western Limb (North West province)
Wonderkop 553 000 Bokamoso pelletising and sintering plant using Outotec technology


Kroondal, Waterval and Marikana
tpa FeCr


Conventional semi-enclosed furnaces




430 000 Tswelopele pelletising and sintering plant using Outotec technology


Kroondal, Waterval and Marikana
tpa FeCr


Conventional semi-enclosed furnaces




240 000
Motswedi pelletising and sintering plant using Outotec technology


Waterval, Kroondal and Boshoek
tpa FeCr
 Enclosed furnaces


Eastern Limb (Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces)
Lydenburg** 396 000
 Premus – kilns  Thorncliffe, Helena and Magareng
tpa FeCr
Three enclosed furnaces and one semi-enclosed furnace  
Lion Phase I 360 000
 Premus – kilns  Thorncliffe, Helena and Magareng
tpa FeCr
 Enclosed furnaces  
Lion Phase II 360 000
 Premus – kilns  Thorncliffe, Helena and Magareng
tpa FeCr
 Enclosed furnaces  

* Furnace 6 under care and maintenance.

** Smelter under care and maintenance.

The Venture has access to various UG2 plants in the Western Limb including EPL, Kanana, Kl, K2, K4 and Rowland, and Mototolo in the Eastern Limb.
The Venture constructed and operates a PGMs processing plant at the Kroondal mine.