SA ferrochrome output to double

[] — South Africa’s production of ferrochrome, a steel-making ingredient, is forecast to more than double to 4.6 million tonnes by 2015 compared with the output for 2009, a senior industry official said on Wednesday.

South Africa produced 2.2 million tonnes of ferrochrome last year.

Heinz Pariser of Alloy Metals and Steel Market Research, said new projects for expanding ferrochrome production in South Africa, the world’s largest ferrochrome producer, would stall between now and 2013, due to expected power shortages.

State power utility Eskom has been struggling to plug a national power deficit owing to fast-rising demand and its own financial problems.

The power utility has said it will be able to meet demand this year but will face tight supply in 2011 and 2012 without new capacity.

Pariser said stunted ferrochrome growth would create tight supply of ferrochrome to the market and result in higher prices.

“Ferrochrome capacity expansions in South Africa will not take place on a large scale within the next three years, but existing ferrochrome capacity restrictions are expected to be lifted after 2013,” Pariser told a ferro alloys conference in Johannesburg.

“Some (600 000) tonnes idled capacity will then be available again.”

Pariser said that South Africa’s ferrochrome capacity would rise to 5.5 million tonnes per year by 2015 from 3.89 tonnes per year in 2009, while exports are expected to grow to 3.94 million tonnes from 2.83 million tonnes in the same period.

Pariser said China would continue drive global ferrochrome demand as a result of its growing steel industry.