Merafe’s 2011 ferrochrome production declines

[] — MERAFE Resources’ attributable production of ferrochrome declined to 263,000 tonnes in the year ended December 2011 from 300,000 tonnes the previous year.

Ferrochrome volumes were adversely affected by industrial action during the second half of the year. The industrial action resulted in production facilities running at a reduced capacity for 38 days.

Releasing its production report for the 2011 year on Tuesday, the company said scheduled maintenance during the high electricity tariff winter months and subsequent weaker market conditions, compounded by industrial action, 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 compared to 2010.

The average European benchmark ferrochrome price for 2011 of $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 $1.15 per pound, which was $0.05 per pound lower than the price in the fourth quarter of 2011.