Sad state of Metalloys plant, once a source of pride for BHP
Only those with a strong tolerance for a weak electricity supply would be likely to take it on
The Metalloys plant was once a source of pride in BHP, the world’s largest resources company. Then BHP spun out its SA and other assets into the newly formed South32 — and didn’t look back at SA. Metalloys, the manganese smelting plant in Meyerton, was described by BHP in 2014 as one of the world’s largest manganese alloy producers in the world. BHP invested R1bn in a new furnace at Metalloys a year earlier. The plant had capacity of 410,000 tonnes a year of high-carbon ferromanganese and 90,000 tonnes a year of medium-carbon ferromanganese. However, tough market conditions for manganese alloys and a fatality in 2015 meant the reduction of operating furnaces to one from four and the plant has not recovered.The extraordinary hike in electricity prices by Eskom of more than 520% since 2006, the variability of supply as the power utility struggles with an old generating fleet and bringing new units into production in an atmosphere of misgovernance and corruption, has all but sealed Met...