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ChromTech completes Lonmin chrome plant

02 Feb 2018 11:45 GMT
ChromTech completes Lonmin chrome plant

Johannesburg, 2 February (Argus) — South African chrome producer ChromTech Holdings has developed a R230mn ($19.3mn) chrome tailings retreatment plant at platinum group metals producer Lonmin in South Africa.

The plant in North West province will form part of Lonmin's bulk treatment of UG2 ore. It will produce up to 35,000 t/month of saleable chrome concentrate from March. It is the sixth chrome tailings treatment plant developed and operated by Chromtech since 2006.

Nearby chrome and PGM producer Tharisa Minerals is producing by-product chrome for Lonmin at one of its PGM mines.

Lonmin agreed to supply its crude by-product nickel sulphate to Thakadu Resources, a 26pc ChromTech shareholder, for beneficiation at a proposed R250mn purification plant at Lonmin's base metals refinery.

This will be operational in the first half of 2019 to supply high purity battery grade nickel sulphate for the growing international battery metal market.

Johannesburg and London-listed Lonmin is the subject of a takeover bid from gold and PGM producer Sibanye Stillwater which is a significant by-product producer of chrome from its South African PGM mines.

South African PGM producers are increasingly looking to chrome as an important source of cash flow. Chrome concentrate is either supplied as feedstock to local ferro-chrome producers or exported to markets such as China.

Tharisa is the word's fifth largest chrome producer and earlier this week warned of a chrome deficit of up to 1.0mn t within the next two years, mainly due to Chinese demand for ferro-chrome and stainless steel production.