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.

  • 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.

Merafe’s attributable ferrochrome production


(2022: 384kt)

Cost of ferrochrome production per tonne increased by


(2022: 30% increase)



(2022: Nil)

TRIFR performance of


(2022: 2.40)

No industrial action

Railway and port challenges

Pricing and availability of electricity challenges

Glencore-Merafe Chrome Venture operations

1 Rustenburg ferrochrome plant and Tswelopele pelletising and sintering plant

2 Boshoek ferrochrome plant and Motswedi pelletising and sintering plant

3 Boshoek Mine

4 Wonderkop ferrochrome plant and Bokamoso pelletising and sintering plant

5 Waterval (east and west) and Marikana Mines

6 Kroondal Mine and PGM plant

7 Thorncliffe Mine and PGM plants

8 Lion ferrochrome plant

9 Lydenburg ferrochrome plant

10 Helena Mine

11 Magareng Mine

Operational review

Merafe’s attributable ferrochrome production decreased by 22% from 384kt to 300kt for the year ended 31 December 2023. The reduction in production was mainly due to a planned pull back in production in response to weaker market conditions. During the three-month high electricity demand winter season, a period of elevated electricity tariffs, only Lion smelter operated. Post the winter period the Rustenburg smelter was not brought back to production as weaker market conditions persisted.

In the third quarter of the 2023 financial year, the JV partners reached an agreement for the PGMs plant, located at the Thorncliffe Mine (Eastern PGMs plant), to be contributed to the JV. The inclusion of this plant has contributed to increased PGMs production volumes from 3 170 oz to 6 443 oz.

Total unit cost of ferrochrome production rose by 28%. The increase was mainly due to higher inflation, higher ore market costs, higher reductants and higher plant costs. Plant costs per unit were impacted by lower volumes produced.

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 CO2 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 electricity supply and above inflation cost increases remain key risks for our business. Electricity tariffs increased by 18.65% effective 1 April 2023 and NERSA has approved tariff hikes of 12.75% effective 1 April 2024.

NERSA has approved the Negotiated Pricing Agreement application between Glencore/Merafe and Eskom. The parties are in the process of finalising the agreement. This should facilitate price and planning predictability for the JV smelters.


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.


Sadly, the Venture had two fatalities during the last half of 2023 and one fatality in the first month of 2024. Our total recordable injury frequency rate improved by 3% to 2.34 (December 2022: 2.40).

The safety of our employees is our number one priority, and we therefore, remain focused on implementing the SafeWork 2.0 with the aim of continual improvement and the effective implementation of the fatal hazard protocols. In addition to these initiatives, a specific focus this financial year was quality assurance and verification activities on our systems and standards. In 2024, a particular emphasis will be placed on contractor management.


COVID-19 cases have reduced significantly over the years. We will continue to monitor these to identify any concerning trends so that necessary controls can be implemented if required.

We remain committed to creating a healthy work environment and will review all our health risk assessments during 2024. Additionally, we will continue to monitor the occupational health of our workforce.

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.

Chrome ore production


The Chrome mines’ (including UG2) saleable chrome ore production for 2023 is 7% less than the previous year.

Chrome produced at the mines in 2023 was 5% less than in 2022 mainly due to the drop in the head grade and labour instability (resignations of drill rig and bolter operators) in our Eastern Operations.

Lower tonnages (11%) at the UG2 operations were mainly due to less feed received from external PGMs concentrators.


The Chrome mines’ (including UG2) saleable chrome ore production costs for 2023 were 14% more than the prior year.

Production costs from mines were 14% more than the prior year mainly due to less volumes produced coupled with above inflationary increases.

Production costs from the UG2 platinum tailings were 12% more than the prior year mainly due to higher prices paid for raw material from PGMs producers (linked to Chrome ore market prices) and lower volume.

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 tpa FeCr Bokamoso pelletising and sintering
plant using Outotec technology
Kroondal, Waterval and Marikana
6 furnaces Conventional semi-enclosed furnaces
Rustenburg* 430 000 tpa FeCr Tswelopele pelletising and sintering
plant using Outotec technology
Kroondal, Waterval and Marikana
6 furnaces Conventional semi-enclosed furnaces
Boshoek 240 000 tpa FeCr Motswedi pelletising and sintering
plant using Outotec technology
Waterval, Kroondal and Boshoek
2 furnaces Enclosed furnaces
Eastern Limb (Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces)
Lydenburg** 396 000 tpa FeCr Premus – kilns Thorncliffe, Helena and Magareng
4 furnaces Three enclosed furnaces and one
semi-enclosed furnace
Lion Phase I 360 000 tpa FeCr Premus – kilns Thorncliffe, Helena and Magareng
2 furnaces Enclosed furnaces
Lion Phase II 360 000 tpa FeCr Premus – kilns Thorncliffe, Helena and Magareng
2 furnaces 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 PGM processing plants at its Western and Eastern operations.