Home |  News |  Conferences |  Commodities |  Publications |  Business Directory |  Resources |  Help
Go to the MEI Online homepage

Search Site:

MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Africa: December 10th 2003


click to find out about MEI Conferences


:: New Smelter Approved to Expand Ferrochrome Production Capacity by 25%

Xstrata plc has announced approval for the construction of a 330,000 tonne ferrochrome smelter in South Africa, which will raise Xstrata Alloy's annual production capacity to some 1.63 million tonnes of ferrochrome, representing about one-third of current global capacity. The Lion project, which is expected to commence production early in 2006, will be located on the site of Xstrata's existing Vantech facility in Mpumalanga Province, in close proximity to Xstrata's Thorncliffe chrome ore mine and Helena chromite ore deposit. The capital cost of ZAR1.25 billion will benefit from the utilisation of infrastructure and services that are available as a result of diminishing magnetite ore reserves at Vantech.

The Lion Plant, which will consist of two 63MVA closed submerged arc furnaces, will utilise Xstrata's exclusive "Premus Technology" that has been developed and successfully implemented by Xstrata Alloys at its Lydenburg plant. The Premus process, which is a substantial modification of the highly efficient closed furnace and pelletising technology, is expected to deliver operating costs around 20% below alternative technologies due to significant substitution of anthracite for coke and power costs that are between 25% and 45% lower per tonne of ferrochrome produced than the industry's prevailing Conventional, Outokumpu or DC Arc processes. The project has been designed with potential for additional low-cost brownfield expansion to one million tonnes of lower Silicon ferrochrome product in two further phases of around 330,000 tonnes each.

Xstrata Chief Executive Mick Davis said: "This project underscores Xstrata's commitment to organic growth in its core business units and our confidence in the ability of the Xstrata Alloys team to enhance their industry leading position as the world's largest and most efficient ferrochrome producer going forward. The excellent returns that this project will deliver to shareholders, even at a time when the strength of the Rand has put so many South African mining projects in jeopardy, is an affirmation of the exceptionally low capital and operating costs that our Premus Technology can deliver. This new facility and the combination of our ground-breaking technology and proven operating excellence provide us with an unrivalled base from which we can expand ferrochrome expansion to meet the needs of the market for years to come."

Peet Nienaber, Chief Executive of Xstrata Alloys, said: "This project will secure on-going, low-cost capacity to meet the ever increasing need for ferrochrome of our customers, which is being driven by outstanding growth in demand for stainless steel. Critically, the project will further reduce the Group's average cost of production and its requirement for expensive reductants, while increasing output of a premium lower silicon product that is highly valued in the market. In addition to reducing capital costs, the location of the project will allow Xstrata Alloys to optimise its ore reserve supply across its Eastern and Western operations."

Discussions are underway with empowerment groups in South Africa regarding their possible participation in the Lion Project.




Click for more info on Comminution '21

Select the list(s) you'd like to join below, enter your email address, choose a content format and click "Join."
[more info]

MEI Online Update
MEI Online Job Vacancies


© 1998-2017, Minerals Engineering International

Email: amanda@min-eng.com