Chromium in South Africa

Way, H. J. R.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 2
Publication Date: Mar 1, 1968
Dr H. J. R. Way: In his reply to my queries Mr Bath still adheres to his statement that it may be possible to replace the estimated R200 million reduction in gold revenue in 1980 by exports of ferro-chromium, and apparently based his conclusion on a growth rate in demand for corrosion resistant steels of 10 per cent per annum in the next few years. As I pointed out at the previous discussion at Middelburg this would entail a production of about one million tons of ferro-chromium in 1980. Exact statistics of South African ferro-chromium production are not available, a fact which is very much to be regretted. But statistics of exports of ferro-chromium are available from "Foreign Trade Statistics" of the Customs and Excise. These show that South Africa exported 99,580 short tons in 1967. The quantity of ferro-chromium consumed in South Africa in 1967 was fairly small and we can therefore assume that the production was 99,580 tons. For this amount to grow to 1,000,000 tons in 1980 would require a growth rate of 19.4 per cent per annum. At 10 per cent this would grow to 344,000 tons and at 7 per cent 240,000 tons. The following growth rates in the form of average trends are pertinent: STEEL - Per annum World steel ingot production - 1957-67 – 6.8 per cent Free-world ingot production - 1957-67 – 6.0 per cent Consumptions of crude steel by four major Free-world Consumers - 1957-67 - 5.6 per cent CHROMITE World production - 1952-67 - 2.5 per cent South African total sales - 1948-67 – 5.4 per cent South African exports - 1948-67 – 3.9 per cent United States consumption, very irregular, but - 1962-67 – 6.5 per cent FERRO-CHROMIUM - Per annum United States consumption - 1952-67 - 6.5 per cent South African exports - 1957-62 - 25.2 per cent South African exports - 1962-66 - 41.9 per cent South African exports - 1966-68 - 21.2 per cent These figures show that exports of ferro-chromium have been growing at a very high rate varying from 21.2 per cent to 41.9 per cent since 1957, but in view of the market situation it seems somewhat doubtful if that high rate can be maintained up to 1980. Of our 1966 exports U.S.A. took 63 per cent which was 53 per cent of their total imports. Their average consumption is trending at a growth rate of 6.5 per cent per annum from 1952-67, but the growth from 1964-66 was 5- 2 per cent and 1966-67, -12 per cent!
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