Merafe Resources, junior partner in the chrome joint venture headed by the world’s largest commodities trader, Glencore, is likely to remain a strong dividend payer after a record-high interim payout of R200m as uncertainty over electricity prices hampers investments. Glencore-Merafe Chrome Venture is one of the world’s largest producers of ferrochrome, used in the production of stainless steel. It is an electricity-intensive product to make. "We have to adapt to the reality that things have changed in SA. If you go back 20 years, it was very simple: you built smelters, we had the cheapest electricity," said Deon Dryer, MD of the joint venture at a results presentation on Monday. Due to "uncertainty with electricity prices, it doesn’t make sense for us to look at Lion 3 [ferrochrome project] … we are not looking to expand in smelting capacity. If things changed and preferential tariffs are offered by the government, that’s something we would look at and [we would] expand again, but ...

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