Our operating context

The global position of ferrochrome

Elements influencing the global demand for and pricing of ferrochrome

Global economic conditions
Exchange rates
Stainless steel demand
Growth of Chinese ferrochrome industry
Chrome ore exports

  The global position of ferrochrome

of the ferrochrome
produced is used
stainless steel and
specialty steels

growth rate forecast
stainless steel
production in 2016


  Ferrochrome production and its role in stainless steel

Produced by high-temperature reduction (smelting) of chromite, ferrochrome contains iron, chrome, minor amounts of carbon and silicon and impurities such as sulphur, phosphorous and titanium.

Chrome is a metallurgical marvel. It brings amazing properties to the metals with which it is alloyed. Add it to carbon steel in the form of ferrochrome and the steel becomes ‘stainless’ – corrosion resistant, mechanically strong, heat resistant, hard wearing, shiny and glamorous. Stainless steel is used everywhere in modern life from nuclear reactors to exhaust pipes, architecture, kitchenware and a host of other applications.


Specialty steels produced for applications such as tools, injection moulds, camshafts, etc, also derive the high mechanical strength, hardness and heat-resistance required from their chrome content.

Key statistics for 2015
Global ferrochrome production reduced by 4.6% to approximately 10.7 million tonnes of ferrochrome
Ferrochrome demand is expected to increase by approximately 1% in 2016
South Africa produced approximately 35% of global ferrochrome production in 2015
China consumed approximately 7.6 million tonnes of chrome ore in 2015 from South Africa

The South African

production costs
are a challenge

Electricity costs have more than doubled since 2007 and labour costs are increasing, as are the challenges in the socio-political environment

Two South African
filed for business rescue proceedings in 2015



of world’s ferrochrome production supplied by South Africa in 2015
of world’s chrome reserves are in South Africa
Provides over
200 000
direct and indirect jobs
  Our competitive advantage

Lowest-cost producer in South Africa
Flexibility provided by variety of cost effective technologies
25% saving in energy consumption per tonne of alloy produced achieved as a result of major investments in energy efficiency (Lion Complex and two new pelletising and sintering plants)
Lion II project ramp up in 2015 will achieve further energy efficiencies
Significant chrome ore reserves and access to UG2