The Director-General of the Department of Trade Industry and Competition (the dtic), Mr Lionel October emphasised the dtic‘s support for the implementation of a set of interventions to promote chrome beneficiation that can contribute to strategic localisation and reindustrialisation. He led a team of the dtic officials to brief Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry.
It emerged during the briefing that South Africa’s share of the global ferrochrome market is down to 27% from 39% in 2009. The biggest contributor to this loss is increased exports of chrome ore and production of ferrochrome in China as well as increasing domestic energy costs.
China’s exponential growth has seen it move from its position as a marginal producer of ferrochrome to its current status of owning 40% of the market share.
October emphasised that government was conscious of the transformation obligations in these sectors, and the dtic working with other lead departments, will ensure necessary legislative imperatives are adhered to ensure empowerment, through ownership, local procurement and opportunities for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises, among other areas.
The Director of Minerals processing at the dtic, Dr Umeesha Naidoo, told the Portfolio Committee that South Africa does have competitive advantages, which it must leverage on, to boost its place.
“These include world class technology when it comes to chrome smelting, access to the largest resources of high quality chrome ore and a world class stainless steel producer.”
Naidoo added that other interventions include dealing with the high costs of logistics, promoting increased transportation of chrome and ferrochrome by rail and introducing a form of chrome tax that will balance the viability of both the chrome and ferrochrome industries.
Another key intervention is on the supply of electricity to energy intensive users. Combating illegal chrome mining is another critical area that is also being addressed to support the growth of the industries.
The MPs also heard that the cement industry which employs close 8 000 people was one of the key sectors negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and is therefore a key focus area in the economic recovery plans.
Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition
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