Political turmoil in South Africa
has impacted the chromite mining industry in recent years, with
several chrome ore producers, including Lanxess and Glencore
Xstrata, experiencing operations disruption.
Recently, however, the chromite
mining industry has shown signs of stabilisation and slow
expansion began in the second half of 2013.
Consultancy group Heinz H Pariser
Steel & Metal Alloys indicates that global consumption of
chromite exceeded 30m tonnes in 2012. In terms of global chrome
ore production, the International Chromium Development
Association (ICDA) estimates that in Q1 2013, numbers dropped
by 5% quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) and consumption reduced by
only 1%, helping the markets to stabilise after the oversupply
Chromite mineral contains iron and
chromium oxides (FeO and Cr2O3) with
Cr/Fe ratios, ranging from 1.5 up to 3. In its pure form
chromite contains 68% Cr2O3 and 32%
The US Geological Survey (USGS)
distinguishes three chromite grades: metallurgical grade, with
46% Cr2O3 and Cr/Fe ratio greater than 2,
chemical grade, with 40% - 46% Cr2O3 and
Cr/Fe ratio between 1.5 and 2, and refractory grade chromite,
with 30% - 57% Cr2O3, 27% alumina
A fourth grade, with more than 46%
Cr2O3 and no more than 27% FeO content,
is known as foundry grade and is used in the metal casting
According to the USGS, the chromite
market in 2012 was slow, with escalating production cost
and dismal demand, on the back of a slowdown in
ferrochrome production. Among the causes of this slowdown was
the reduced demand in stainless steel in Europe and China, the
ICDA figures confirm USGS data,
estimating global chromite production in 2012 to be around
24.7m tonnes, down 1.5% from figures seen in 2011.
Chinese chromite imports decreased
from 9.4m tonnes in 2011 to 9.3m tonnes in 2012. One reason for
the Chinese downturn was the use of chromite stocks, which had
increasingly accumulated in the previous years, as a
consequence of an oversupply in the international markets.
In 2013, China became the top
producer of ferrochrome worldwide, surpassing the longstanding
leadership of South Africa.
However, China will always depend
on imports of chromite, and the trend of chromite consumption
in China will increase up to 15m tonnes in 2015 and will reach
20m tonnes by 2020, according to Roskill
USGS figures show global chromite
resources to be greater than 12bn tonnes. The majority of
chromite resources are concentrated in South Africa, which owns
about 75% of worlds reserves, with Parisers
estimates of shipping-grade chromite amounting to 6.8bn
Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan, Turkey and
Finland hold chromite resources between 100m and 1bn tonnes,
while Canadas recent explorations of its Ring of
Fires deposits amount to 200m tonnes of reserves.
Countries with reserves less than
100m tonnes include India, Greenland, Iran and Brazil. Other
small chromite reserves can be found in Albania, Greece,
Russia, UAE, Oman, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Vietnam,
Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Madagascar and Cuba (see
Information compiled by Pariser
indicates a steady growth rate of 6% in global chromite supply
between 2003 and 2012, with tonnages increasing from 16.3m
tonnes in 2003 to 28.8m in 2012. However, supply fell by about
14% in 2009 to approximately 22.5m tonnes owing to the global
economic crisis; in 2011 and 2012 figures stabilised to around
South Africa is by far the largest
producer of chromite ore and concentrates, accounting for 41%
of global production in 2012, followed by Kazakhstan (14.8%),
India (13.5%) and Turkey (9.6%).
Russia (2.7%), Oman (2.4%), Brazil
(2.4%) and Pakistan (2.3%) are other important producers. In
Europe, Finland and Albania are the major producing
According to ICDA, total chromite
production in 2012 reached 24.8m tonnes, down 0.95% from 2011,
as an oversupply situation, caused by the inability of
consumption to keep up with production, occurred.
Between 2003 and 2012, China showed
a growth rate of about 20.5% in chromite consumption, followed
by India (9%), Russia (4%), South Africa (2%) and Kazakhstan
(less than 1%).
Chromite in South Africa is sourced in the Bushweld Complex,
which covers an area of 65,000km2 and hosts nearly
70% of estimated chromite reserves in the world. The
chromite-rich resources are mainly located in the low group
(LG) and middle group (MG).
However, the upper group 2 (UG2)
can generate a huge amount of chromite from the tailings of the
platinum group minerals (PMG) mining activities. ICDA reports
that South African UG2 concentrator capacity reached 4.7m
tonnes in 2012, up 34.6% compared with 2011.
According to Pariser, the average
grade of South African chromite is 34.8%
Cr2O3, with six deposits grading between
40% and 50% Cr2O3, 10 deposits grading
between 30% and 40% Cr2O3, and four
resources grading below 30% Cr2O3.
According to the USGS, chromite
production in South Africa amounted to 11m tonnes in 2012, up
7.8% year-on-year (y-o-y).
However, ICDA indicates South
African production of chromite ore and concentrates in 2012
being just over 10.1m tonnes, down 2.9% compared to 2011 and
accounting for about 41% of the worlds production.
According to ICDA, chromite
production in Q1 2013 was down 4.7% compared with Q4 2012.
Partial stagnation in the
production from South Africa was due to the unrest and
demonstrations, which affected operations at several mining
High costs of electricity power and
global overcapacity also contributed to the slowdown in
chromite production during 2012 and beginning 2013.
However, production in South Africa
was up almost 22% q-o-q in Q2 2013, accounting for 49% of the
global output in Q2 2013.
Among the major chromite producers
in South Africa are Merafe Resources, with a joint venture (JV)
with Anglos-Swiss multinational Glencore Xstrata, Samancor
Chrome, UK-based Lonmin, Assmang, Xstratas subsidiary
Rand York Minerals, and German multinational Lanxess.
Besides metallurgical grade
chromite, several companies produce foundry grade, refractory
grade and chemical grade chromite, such as Assmang, Rand York,
Samancor, Lanxess, and Veereniging Refractories.
South Africa produces more chromite
than it consumes, with about 4.6m tonnes out of over 10m tonnes
of chromite used in the domestic market in 2012, according to
ICDA. The nation is therefore the largest exporter of chromite
worldwide with exports reaching 5.5m tonnes in 2012, up by 3%
compared with those in 2011.
However, South Africas
exports to China in 2012 amounted to 4m tonnes, down by about
4% compared with 2011, according to ICDA.
Although South Africa remains the
largest exporting country to China, the lower exports in 2012
are due to China using up stockpiles accumulated in prior
According to ICDAs 2012
estimates, South Africa exported 495,000 tonnes chromite to
Western Europe and Turkey, up by about 69% y-o-y. 277,000
tonnes was exported to the US, up by 45% y-o-y, 68,000 tonnes
to South America, down by 13% y-o-y, and 61,200 tonnes to
India, down by 11% y-o-y.
However, Parisers figures
indicate South African exports to South America and India were
as high as 95,000 tonnes and 84,000 tonnes, respectively.
Finally, beneficiation of the UG2
tailings provides South Africa with additional capacity from 3m
to 5m tonnes of chromite ore and concentrate, which is
efficiently recovered from waste generated in the platinum
production process and less costly than mining from the LG.
However, the South African
Department of Mineral Resources has begun considering stricter
regulations, especially in the UG2 chromite production, while
the South African government is re-discussing a bill, which
aimed at greater national ownership of mining projects and
Kazakhstan and Russia
Kazakhstan hosts the worlds
second-largest reserves of chromite, the majority of which are
located in the Kempirsai Massif district, north-west of the
country. Kazakhstan was the second largest producer of chromite
in Q2 2013, which, together with Oman, Iran, Russia and
Albania, represented 21% of the worlds output.
Total production in 2012 amounted
to almost 3.7m tonnes, which is on a par with the figures seen
in 2011. The majority of this chromite supplies the domestic
demand in the production of ferrochrome for metallurgical
Exports in 2012 amounted to
approximately 861,000 tonnes, down 3% compared with 2011
figures. The exports were mainly to Russia (90%) and China
According to ICDA, the country
expanded production in Q2 2013.
The two main producers in the
country are Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC), which
operates via its subsidiary Kazchrome, and Oriel Resources Ltd,
which is owned by the Russian company Mechel.
Russia is also an important
chromite producer, with an output of about 660,000 tonnes in
2012, up 4% compared with 2011.
However, Russia is a major
importer, with imports amounting to 899,000 tonnes in 2012,
according to ICDA. Almost all chromite is imported from
Kazakhstan (86%), with other imports from Turkey (7.5%) and
South Africa (6.4%).
India hosts 203m tonnes chromite,
including 54m tonnes of reserves and 149m tonnes of remaining
resources, according to the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM).
The majority of resources (93%) are
located in the state of Odisha, mainly in the Sukinda valley in
Cuttack and Jajpur districts.
accounts for 55% of the resources, while the beneficial grade
accounts for 17% and refractory grade for 5%. Other low and
unclassified grades account for 23% of the remaining
IBM figures indicate that there are
in total 20 chromite mines in the country, seven of which
account for 88% of total production, with a capacity of more
than 100,000 tpa each.
Tata Steel, Orissa Industries,
Bhilai Refractories, Associated Ceramics and Joglekar
Refractories and Ceramics are the major producers of refractory
grade chromite in this region.
Other refractory, foundry and
chemical grade chromite producers are Odisha Mining Corp and
Misrilall Jain Group.
The country is the third-largest
producer of chromite worldwide, accounting for 13% of global
Production in 2012 amounted to
about 3.4m tonnes, up 18% y-o-y. Indias supply is mainly
for the domestic metallurgical and chemical industry.
Figures from ICDA show that
chromite consumption in Q2 2013 rose to about 6.6m tonnes
worldwide, up by 19% q-o-q and up by 6.4% y-o-y.
The country exports chromite to
China, Japan, and Europe, in minimal amount. Exports in 2012
amounted to about 329,000 tonnes, down by 31% y-o-y.
According to the IBM, imports
increased in the period 2011-2012, reaching 136,000 tonnes,
mainly from South Africa (37%), Turkey (30%) and Oman (29%).
According to ICDA, imports were up by 94% y-o-y in 2012,
totalling 203,301 tonnes.
Turkey is the fourth-largest
producer of chromite, with concentrates grading 48%
Cr2O3 and Cr/Fe ratio ranges between 2.4
and 2.8, while lumps containing 34%-44%
Cr2O3 , with Cr/Fe ratio of 2.5.
ICDA estimates indicate that
Turkish production amounted to about 2.4m tonnes in 2012, down
by 6% y-o-y.
Exports reached 2.2m tonnes in
2012, up 14% compared with 2011, mainly to China (84%), Europe
(11%), Russia (3%) and India (1%). Exports in Q1 2013 amounted
to 497,000 tonnes, up 42.2% q-o-q.
Imports were low, however, at
around 162,000 tonnes in 2012, up by 32% y-o-y, mainly from
According to ICDA, the Turkish
chromite mining sector is fragmented, with the top 10 producers
controlling about 50% of the capacity, which could supply
Main producers include Dedeman
Mining and Akmetal Madencilik (AKM).
Recent technical developments have
allowed Turkish producers to increase the annual capacity
through the beneficiation of low-grade lumps.
If in the past it was not
feasible to produce chrome with a grade less than 45%, now we
can earn a good profit with 6.5% run-off mine ore, Murat
Eroglu, Dedemans deputy chairman, told E&MJ
Omans chromite production has
fallen in the last two years from almost 920,000 tonnes in 2010
to 590,000 tonnes in 2012.
The majority of chromite is
produced in the form of lumpy ores, with chromite content
between 24% and 38% and Cr/Fe ratio between 2 and 2.4.
Omans chromite is
particularly suitable for refractory applications, owing to its
high aluminium content.
Exports in 2012 amounted to about
540,000 tonnes, of which about 426,000 tonnes went to China,
and over 108,000 tonnes to India.
The two main producers are Gulf
Mining Group (GMM) and Muscat Overseas.
The main application of chromite is
in the stainless steel industry and in the production of
ferrochrome, which both account for the 95% of the consumption
Chromite in the refractory
For industrial minerals uses,
however, chromite is used by the refractory industry for the
production of chromite, magnesia-chromite, also called
mag-chrome, periclase-chrome, and picrochromite bricks.
Refractory bricks are used in
furnaces of ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, as well as in
cement and glass kilns, owing to high temperature resistance,
high chemical stability, and resistance to corrosion.
The production of chromite bricks
in the refractory industry has steadily decreased, from over
600,000 tpa in the 1970s to 125,000 tpa by the end of the
Major causes of this steady decline
are the introduction of hydrometallurgical processes in
non-ferrous metallurgy, the move from open furnaces to basic
oxygen and electric furnaces, and the problem of hexavalent
chromium generation in cement kilns.
However, the use of refractory
grade chromite worldwide increased from 259,000 tonnes in 2003
to 392,000 tonnes in 2012, with a 2.8% growth rate, according
ICDA figures show that the global
production of refractory grade chromite amounted to about
162,000 tonnes in 2012, down by 12% y-o-y, but up by 16%
compared to 2010 (see Fig.2).
According to ICDA, refractory grade
chromite production worldwide amounted to 23,000 tonnes in Q2
2013, up by 31% q-o-q, representing 0.3% of global chromite
South Africa, India and Oman are
the major suppliers of refractory grade chromite.
Data from the IBM show that
refractory grade chromite consumption in India was about 25,800
tonnes in the period 2011-2012, down by 42% y-o-y.
According to ICDA, mag-chrome
bricks are still used in steelmaking ladles, in argon-oxygen
de-carburisers and in tap-hole plugging.
Their use in the European and North
American cement industry, which accounts for 7% of total
consumption, has virtually disappeared due to stringent
regulations as well as the high cost of disposing used bricks,
which contain hexavalent chromium, a proven carcinogen.
The largest volume of
chrome-containing materials is consumed by ferrous metallurgy,
followed by non-ferrous and cement industries, Sergey
Odegov, CEO at Russian refractory industry, Magnezit Group,
Data from the European Refractories
Producers Federation (PRE) indicate that total production of
refractory bricks in Europe amounted to 4.1m tonnes, with total
consumption of 3.7m tonnes in 2010. The steel industry
accounted for almost 61% of the consumption, followed by the
cement industry (14%), ferrous (4.8%), non-ferrous (3.3%) and
Estimates show refractory brick
production amounting to about 4.3m tonnes in 2011 and just
under 4m tonnes in 2012.
Odegov said that Magnezit bought
35,500 tonnes of refractory grade chromite ore from South
Africa in 2012 and 37,500 tonnes in 2013.
Speaking about Magnezit
Groups production in 2012-2013, Odegov told
IM that due to considerable reduction of
steel melting in open-hearth shops, sales volume of
periclase-chrome materials lowered by 14%.
Sales volumes of
chrome-magnesia bricks remained at the same level thanks to
major deliveries to the non-ferrous industry, he
Odegov said that Magnezits
main market is the commonwealth of independent states (CIS),
but that other potentially interesting markets include the US,
Europe, Brazil and China.
According to Odegov, the company is
planning to deliver novel high-quality refractory materials and
chrome-free materials to the cement industry.
Chromite in the foundry
Chromite sand has important
applications in foundry industry, for metal casting, owing to
its high melting temperatures, low wettability, and dimensional
stability in response to heat.
According to Roskill, less
than 60% of the mined chromite is recovered as foundry grade
chromite, which has begun to replace zircon in foundry
Parisers data indicate an
increase in the global consumption of chromite sand in the
foundry industry from 465,000 tonnes in 2003 to 927,000 tonnes
Estimates from ICDA indicate that
foundry grade chromite production amounted to 666,000 tonnes in
2012, down by 13% y-o-y. However, production in 2011 exceeded
the levels before the global economic crisis, reaching about
766,000 tonnes (see Fig.2).
ICDAs figures show that
global production of foundry chromite sand reached almost
163,000 tonnes in Q2 2013, up by 63% q-o-q, representing 2% of
total chromite production.
Production is mostly from South
Africa, but, according to ICDA, Chinese producers reportedly
transform small quantities of imported metallurgical grade
chromite into foundry sand.
John Papp, USGS mineral commodity
specialist, told IM that one company, Oregon
Resources Corp. (ORC), produces foundry grade chromite in the
US, from its mine near the city of Coos Bay, in south west
The demand for foundry and
refractory grade chromite between 2011 and 2012 is exceeded by
supply, Brent Beachy, business director at AMCOL
Metalcasting, told IM.
However the quality and the
consistency of lower group 6 mined ore bodies from South Africa
has been limited due to site specific closures, he
Beachy told IM
that AMCOL Metalcasting produced about 100,000 tonnes of
foundry grade chromite during the period between 2011 and
The consumption of foundry
sand worldwide has shown low growth in the years
2011-2013, Beachy told IM.
He added that the largest demand
growth came from China, to fulfil demand from the ferrochrome
China is the worlds leading
producer in the metal casting industry, with an output of 41.2m
tonnes in 2011 (see Fig.3), exceeding its
pre-recession level and representing 42% of the worlds
production, according to the 46th annual Modern
Casting Census of World Casting Production.
According to the China Foundry
Association (CFA), Chinas average output experienced an
average annual growth rate of 11% in the last 12 years.
The metal casting industry mainly
supplies the domestic markets with exports accounting for 5% of
the total output, while imports amounted to less than 1% of the
The Chinese foundry industry is
facing a decline in the domestic and international markets,
owing to the increase of foundry materials price and
pressure from environmental regulations, according to CFA.
Despite this, CFA forecasts a 6%
increase of castings production in the next five years, with an
expected output of 50m tonnes by the end of 2015.
The metal casting industry also
gave signs of a rebound in the US, with 10% growth in
production in 2011, amounting to 10m tonnes.
The country was closely followed by
India, which saw 9.9m tonnes of production, and Japan and
Germany, both with a production of about 5.5m tonnes.
Chromite in the chemical
Chemical grade chromite is used to
make sodium dichromate, which is an important intermediate for
the production of chromium sulphate, used in the leather
tanning industry, and chromic acid, for the electroplating and
wood preservation industry.
India-based Vishnu Chemicals is one
of the main producers of sodium dichromate, with a reported
production capacity of 70,000 tpa, according to the IBM.
Chromium oxide is also used in the
pigments industry for the production of green and yellow
colours, but its use has been gradually substituted by other
products, owing to the generation of hexavalent chromium.
The leather tanning and
electroplating industries are the main users of the
chrome-based chemicals, accounting for 37% and 20% of the
chemicals end-market, respectively.
According to Pariser, chemical
grade chromite consumption increased from 953,000 tonnes in
2003 to almost 1.7m tonnes in 2012, at a 3.9% growth rate.
Global production of chemical grade
chromite amounted to about 571,000 tonnes in 2012, according to
ICDA. This was approximately half of the amount produced in
2011 (see Fig.2).
During Q2 2013 chemical grade
production was about 164,000 tonnes, up 64% q-o-q, representing
2% of total chromite production. The majority of chemical grade
production was in South Africa.
According to the IBM, the
consumption of chemical grade chromite in India was about 6,500
tonnes between 2011 and 2012.
China held the highest share in the
global basic chromium sulphate market, with a 22% use, followed
by South America (21%), Europe (19%), Asia Pacific (14%), India
(12%), North America (9%) and the Middle East (5%), according
to figures reported by the Turkish chemicals manufacturer, Soda
Sanayii (see Fig.3).
According to the consultancy firm
Asian Agribusiness Consultancy (AAC), Chinas domestic
hide and leather production has steadily increased from 2005,
with values of up to $193bn in 2013, and projections reaching
$278bn by 2015.
AAC also highlighted the increased
consumption value of hide and leather in China, amounting to
$97bn in 2013. This is expected to rise further to $124bn by
Imports of tanned leather in 2011
amounted to about 800,000 tonnes, 700,000 tonnes of which is
attributed to tanned bovine leather without fur.
A major European chemicals producer
told IM that annual consumption of chromium
sulphate in the Italian leather tanning industry is stable at
about 20m tpa 2013.
Italy is one of the main producers
of leather tannery, accounting for about 65% of the European
market, followed by Spain (10%), Germany (4%) and Portugal
The majority of the products are
exported to Europe, in particular France and Germany, which
account for the 65%-70% of the exports.
The US also has an important
leather tanning industry, with chrome tanning accounting for
90% of the countrys tanning production.
USGS 2011 statistics indicated that
chromium chemical imports amounted to about 10,200 tonnes,
including chromium trioxides, chromic acid, sodium dichromate,
chromium sulphates, chromate salts and chrome yellow for
According to a major European
chemicals producer, there is no visible expansion of the
leather tanning market, not even in China, as stricter
environmental regulations have put pressure on several Chinese
leather producers, with consequent inhibition of growth in
demand during 2013.
The electroplating industry is
another important end-use market, consuming around 80% of the
chromic acid produced worldwide.
According to Soda Sanayii (see
Fig.3), China holds a 50% share of the chromic acid
market, followed by North America (13%), Europe (12%), Pacific
Asia (8%), India (4%), Japan (5%) and Middle East (3%).
Chinese consultancy group,
Huidian Research, indicates that the supply of plastic
electroplating in China amounted to about 235m m2 in
2012, up 19% compared with 2011 figures.
Huidian says that the
Chinese electroplating industry showed an upward trend from
2009 to 2012, with a 20% annual growth rate. The industry is
very fragmented, however, with tens of thousands of
A recent report by the Global
Industry Analysts (GIA) consultancy group shows that
electroplating market has gone through a continuous downward
trend in the recent years, owing to several reasons, including
the growing popularity of nickel-plating, the economic
recession and increasing environmental regulations, especially
in Europe and North America.
Consequently, the electroplating
market is shifting from being traditionally dominated by the US
and Europe to the Asia-Pacific region. This is due to an
increase in demand for consumer goods from developing economies
in this region.
However, Tim Peddington, editor of
Products Finishing journal, says that economists
expect future growth in the metal finishing sector, forecasting
a 3.2% annual growth rate through 2015.
Prices of chrome ore vary according
to grades, forms and countries of provenience.
According to the USGS, the average
price of imported chromite in the US increased from $212/tonne
in 2010 to $355/tonne in 2011 and $435/tonne in 2012.
Prices for Turkish chromite
concentrate, 44%-48% Cr2O3, was about
$300/tonne, while for Turkish chromite lump, 40%-42%
Cr2O3, was $280/tonne, as reported by
E&MJ publication in 2012.
A Mining-Bulletin report
indicated a price of $255/tonne for Turkish chromite lump,
40%-42% Cr2O3, as of May 2013.
Shipments by container from Turkish
ports to China cost $25-35/tonne, depending on loading port and
destination, but freight costs from Pakistan can be lower than
indicate a price of $175/tonne for South African chromite
concentrate, 42-44% Cr2O3, as of May
Asian Metal market reports
a price of $120/tonne for South African 30-32 % lumpy chrome,
and a price of $170/tonne for South African chromite
concentrate, grading 42%-44% Cr2O3, Cr/Fe
ratio of 1.5, CIF China.
Low-grade South African chromite
ores, 26%-28% Cr2O3, are priced
$100/tonne, according to the Asian Metal market.
According to IM
pricing data, the price for foundry grade chromite, 47%
Cr2O3, amounts to $540-580/tonne, which
is higher than the price of metallurgical chromite, owing to
the competition with zircon.
The price for chemical grade
chromite, 46% Cr2O3, was $400/tonne,
while refractory grade chromite, 46%
Cr2O3, was priced about $480/tonne,
hitting $600-700/tonne in 2012.
According to the
FerroAlloys market service, China imported chromite
lumps, 40%-42% Cr2O3, from Turkey at the
price of $270/tonne, Pakistans lumps, 36%-38%
Cr2O3, at $260/tonne and Omans
lumps at $190-200/tonne.
for chromite ore, 42% Cr2O3, at CIF
China, stood at $283/tonne in January 2014, while chromite ore
44% Cr2O3, at CIF China, was set at
According to the IBM, the average
price of Indian chromite ore amounted to rupees (Rs) Rs
7,046/tonne ($112.7/tonne*) during the period 2011-2012.
The price was calculated from the
value of the total production of chromite ore, including
chromite 52% Cr2O3 , 40%-52%
Cr2O3 , and lower than 40%
The average price of exported
chromite to China during the year 2011-2012 was Rs 21,859/tonne
($350/tonne); Rs 34,996/tonne ($560/tonne) for lumps and Rs
16,123/tonne ($258/tonne) for concentrates.
India also imported chromite from
South Africa at a price of Rs 17,360/tonne ($278/tonne), from
Turkey at a price of Rs 16,109/tonne ($258/tonne) and from
Oman, at a price of Rs 9,920/tonne ($159/tonne).
The prices were estimated by the
ratio of the value and quantity of imports reported by the
According to KPMG, Deutsche Bank
expects prices for metallurgical chromite to be $240/tonne in
2013 with a slight increase to $243/tonne in 2014, stabilising
to around $230/tonne in the long term.
According to KPMG, global stainless
steel consumption has increased at a growth rate of 4.4% over
the last five years and it is expected to grow further, at a
rate of 4.8%.
China and the Asia-Pacific region
have driven the growth in consumption, with Chinas growth
rate at 6.1% and the rate of the other Asian countries expected
to reach 4%. This growth will drive chromite demand.
According to ICDA, explorations of
new resources in Canada and Australia, advantageous logistics
facilities in Oman and Iran, and possible restrictions of
chromite exports in South Africa, might lead to a future
diversification of chromite exporters to China.
Kazakhstan will mainly produce for
the expanding domestic market and partial exports to Russia,
while India is restricting exports.
According to KPMG, the
chromite market is expected to remain in balance in the years
to come, with the new projects capacity and the
increasing supply being only sufficient to meet the increase in
Regarding non-metallurgical grade
chromite, the rebound of the metal casting industry, which is
expected to grow further in the short term, will drive the
demand of foundry grade chromite sand, especially towards the
markets in the Asia-Pacific region.
For the refractory industry, Odegov
thinks that in future there will be demand for higher quality
grades of refractory chromite, while the cement industry will
progressively transfer to chrome-free materials.
Speaking about the refractory
industry worldwide, Odegov told IM: We
forecast that in the steel-making sector there will be lowering
of demand at the level of 2-3% annually.
An unstable situation is
expected on the market in 2014-2015, but my opinion is that due
to predicted growth in the steel-making sector, the refractory
industry will also have a positive trend for growth, he
More stringent environmental
regulations and the replacement of new products in the leather
tanning, electroplating and pigments sectors are likely to
hamper the demand of chemical grade and chromite in the near
However, the key factor will still
be the horse-like galloping Chinese economy, which dominates
all the end-markets of non-metallurgical grade chromite.
*Conversions made January