Merafe’s ferrochrome ouput lower

[] — MERAFE Resources, the country’s largest ferrochrome producer, said on Tuesday first-half production fell 4% to 150,000 tonnes due to furnace refurbishments.

“The refurbishment activities largely focussed on the more efficient Premus furnaces, resulting in lower efficiencies and increased production costs,” the miner said in a statement.

Merafe, which operates a joint venture with London-listed Xstrata , said it had achieved an 8% increase in the benchmark ferrochrome price to $1.35 per pound in the second quarter.

The company said last week it expects to report headline earnings per share of between 3 to 4 cents for the six months to the end of June, compared with 7 cents in the comparison period.

Merafe said it would operate at around 50% of its capacity during the June-August winter months, due to market conditions and routine maintenance.

The company will report its interim results on Aug. 2.

Shares in the company are down 34% so far this year, compared with a 0.17% rise in Johannesburg’s All-Share index .