Cofermin Rohstoffe GmbH & Co
KG, headquartered in Essen, Germany, runs offices in Katowice,
Moscow, Tianjin and Tokyo. The company trades over 100 products
worldwide, from alumina to zirconia, to markets such as
foundry, steel, refractories, building materials, mineral
processing, ceramics, glass, fertiliser, welding, and waterjet
cutting. Cofermin supplies Europe, Russia and Asia for a large
number of international raw material and additives producers.
Key areas of Cofermins activities is the development of
new resources, especially secondary raw materials.
Cofermin was founded in 2000 by
four managing partners Tim Geldmacher, Pawel Golak, Bernhard
Krger and Ralf Ossen, all ex-Frank&Schulte experts in
marketing and distribution, processing and trading of ores and
Today the company employs 40 people in trading and
administration throughout the world. In China, Cofermin
operates a processing plant for refractory minerals and
additives. The company founded Cofermin Chemicals GmbH &
Co. KG in 2008, in order to take a more focussed approach
towards the chemical business.
Tim Geldmacher, Pawel Golak,
Bernhard Kruger and Ralf Ossen,
How do you see the traders role?
We regard the continuous and
reliable supply of strategic raw materials to our customers as
one of our most important tasks. A close relationship with
suppliers and customers added to an in-depth knowledge of the
specifics of the individual markets help us to achieve this
goal. We view ourselves as a global service company operating
in a most transparent way. This philosophy sets us apart from
most of our competitors.
How has it
During the late 1990s, the role of
the trader was questioned by many consumers. The idea to cut
out the middle-man to save cost was supported by the fact that
supply for most raw materials was stable, communication had
become easier and the internet was starting to make the market
a lot more transparent. We started Cofermin in 2000 just about
when supply for many raw materials began to get tight. The past
years have proven that the role of the trader is still an
important one when it comes to a reliable and consistent supply
of raw materials.
The relationship between supplier,
distributor and final customer will get even closer and more
transparent. This will allow an optimisation of the whole
process and also help to speed up the development of new
What developments have you
We see great potential in secondary
raw materials. The awareness that supply for some products
depends to a large extent on a few countries, such as China or
South Africa, and large conglomerates help to push the
development of new products generated from industrial
processes. This is exactly the point where Cofermin can play an
important role. Our portfolio in this field already includes
silica fume, aluminium oxides, silicon carbide, aluminium
flakes and a variety of secondary refractory materials.
What factors have most
impacted the market lately?
In the last few years, raw material
availability has become an issue of increasing importance to
many producing industries worldwide. The continuing strong
growth of the world economy and in particular the demand of the
Chinese and Indian markets for various raw materials, have been
and continue to be the reason for very high prices and limited
availability. The above applies for commodity materials such as
coke, iron ores and metals but also for other, less known but
equally important raw materials such as ores and industrial
What is the challenge in
finding sources of raw material?
The European industry is heavily
dependent on raw material imports. Only a few countries are
dominating supply of those raw materials relevant to our line
of business. This situation bears an enormous challenge for the
European industry and also for us as a company. Dependable,
long-term availability of ores and minerals is going to come
more into focus in the coming years.
The continuing growth of China and
the clear policies of the Chinese government to protect their
own raw material resources while buying up international
resources that become available like bauxite will limit
the availability of raw materials for countries like
We believe that synthetic and
secondary raw materials will be a potential substitute for some
of the materials concerning our portfolio.
What minerals are the most
As during the past ten years, we
will be concentrating on niche products rather than on
commodities. As one example: speciality grade bauxites ex China
for example will be increasingly difficult to source in the
coming years. Utilising our processing company in Tianjin, we
are going to concentrate on high density, welding, cement and
other speciality grades.