South Africas Assmang Ltd. plans to build a
3-billion-rand ($294.8-million) manganese alloys smelter in
Assmang, which is
owned jointly by Sandton, South Africa-based African Rainbow
Minerals Ltd. (ARM) and Johannesburg-based Assore Ltd., plans
to start construction of the 169,000-tonne-per-year smelter in
the first quarter of 2014. It will work with two Asian
joint-venture partners, Tokyo-based Sumitomo Corp. and
Kaohsiung, Taiwan-based China Steel Corp., on the project (
amm.com, June 19), which will produce high-carbon
ferromanganese when it is commissioned in 2016, the company
used in a manganese alloys smelter also are capable of smelting
silicomanganese, but an ARM spokeswoman declined to comment on
whether Assmang would also produce this alloy. She said that
the partners were still hammering out the details.
"The driving factors
for selecting Malaysia as a location for the smelter was the
proximity of it to the Asian market, which is a growing
market," she told AMM sister publication Metal
Bulletin. The availability of "reasonably priced"
hydroelectricity also was a strong consideration for setting up
a smelter in the region, she added.
China Steel will
invest $62.5 million in the project, giving it a 19-percent
interest and the right to buy 30,000 to 32,000 tonnes of alloys
per year from the project.
Assmang has existing
ferromanganese smelting facilities in South Africa, after
converting its ferrochrome smelters to produce more
The latest move is in
contrast to the South African governments initiatives to
encourage more beneficiation locally (
amm.com, Sept. 24).
Hong Kong-based Asia
Minerals Ltd. also is building a smelter in Malaysia, which
will receive manganese ore from its Kudumane Mine in the
Northern Cape province of South Africa. A number of new
manganese mines have sprouted up in the province, but none has
built a smelter in South Africa.
Africa-based Kalagadi Manganese (Pty) Ltd. is planning to build
a smelter in the Coega Industrial Park, but the company has yet
to obtain funding for the project.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister
publication Metal Bulletin.