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SA junior miners have been chasing opportunities in platinum for the past few years, but now they are scrambling to find them in chrome ore instead.
Platinum and chrome ore are mined on the Bushveld complex, the semicircular geological formation north of Gauteng. They are extracted either separately or together in the platinum group metal-bearing Upper Group 2 reef.
Some chrome ore is turned into higher-margin ferrochrome locally. But because of SA’s recent electricity shortages and tariff hikes, which have strangled investment in smelters, it has been increasingly exported as a concentrate to ferrochrome smelters in China. Ferrochrome is an input for stainless steel.
Platinum prices have stagnated over the past year but chrome ore prices have surged and in the past six months investors have woken up to the opportunities. In December, Merafe Resources, which is in a joint venture with Glencore that forms the world’s biggest ferrochrome producer, said first-quarter 2017 ferrochrome c...
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