Chrome supply deficit ahead – Tharisa – by Martin Creamer ( – January 30, 2018)

MARIKANA ( – Platinum-group metals (PGMs) and chrome coproducer Tharisa Minerals CEO Phoevos Pouroulis on Tuesday forecast a chrome ore deficit of up to a million tonnes in the short to medium term, driven by burgeoning stainless steel demand.

Chrome ore is fundamental to the manufacture of stainless steel, demand for which is growing by 3% to 5% a year. Four tonnes of stainless steel require 2.5 t of chrome ore, which turns into 1 t of ferrochrome.

China currently produces and consumes more than half of the world’s stainless steel and Chinese ferrochrome capacity is poised to increase by a million tonnes this year, some of it replacement tonnes as older furnaces give way to new environmentally friendlier furnaces.

“So, in the next 24 months, we see up to a million tonnes of chrome ore deficit,” Pouroulis told a local and foreign media contingent, which included Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online.

Speaking at the JSE-listed company’s large opencast PGM and chrome mine in Marikana, Pouroulis said that stainless steel was now a domestically driven consumable in China and was no longer export driven.

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