Vertical Integration As A Source Of Competitiveness: The Case Of Ferrochromium In Southern Africa

Mutemererwa, I. A.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
This paper investigates the role of vertical integration between chrome ore mines and ferrochromium smelters in the location of ferrochromium production capacity in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Vertical integration is important in understanding the increasing competitive position of these two countries as observations show that an increasingly larger share of the global market has been coming from integrated producers. The paper argues that the increased vertical integration between mines and smelters in South Africa and Zimbabwe has led to a lower cost of chrome ore as an input compared with other producers. Underlying this hypothesis is the basic tenet that, more likely than not, production will take place where the costs are lowest. The paper concentrates on high carbon ferrochromium (HCFC) production in market economy countries (MEC). Using an ordinary least squares model, the study tests the relationship between low chrome ore costs and vertical integration shows a statistically significant relationship. These findings partially support the view that the control of sources of chrome ore is a major source of competitiveness. Keywords: competitiveness, ferrochromium (ferrochrome), ordinary least squares, dummy variables, vertical integration, southern Africa.
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