JOHANNESBURG, March 31 (Reuters) – Samancor Chrome, one of the world’s biggest ferrochrome producers, has declared force majeure because of South Africa’s 21-day coronavirus lockdown, removing further supply from global chrome markets.
South Africa ordered all underground mines and furnaces be put on care and maintenance status from midnight on March 26 as part of its measures to contain the spread of the virus.
The country is the world’s biggest producer of chrome ore, an essential ingredient in stainless steel, and last year supplied 12.5 million tonnes to China – 83% of China’s total chrome imports.
Samancor has annual capacity of about 1.2 million tonnes of ferrochrome and chromite ore, its website said. A company spokeswoman confirmed that Samancor had declared force majeure to customers in an emailed response to Reuters questions after similar moves by other producers.
Chrome and platinum producer Tharisa on Friday declared force majeure on its chrome concentrate sales agreements, while Jubilee Metals, another chrome producer, put all its operations under care and maintenance.