The International
Ferro Metals plant in
the North West Province
of South Africa
 
Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 01 February 2012 – Ferrochrome producer International Ferro Metals (IFM) has agreed to shut down two of its furnaces in a move to assist national power utility Eskom Holdings in keeping pace with the tight difference between electricity supply and demand.

In revealing this, IFM did not say how much Eskom was paying as compensation, but it did acknowledge that the arrangement was a net financial benefit to the company”.

The company said it did not expect the shutdowns to significantly impact other mining and ore beneficiation operations, and its contracts with customers. No job cuts were anticipated either.

South Africa has been struggling to meet demand for power as new power plants meant to plug the shortfall have been delayed. Supply will remain vulnerable until the first units of Eskom’s new stations become operational next year.

State-owned Eskom has struck similar agreements with other ferrochrome producers such as Xstrata, Samancor and Ruukki.

Australian-based IFM produces ferrochrome “’ the essential ingredient in stainless steel “’ at its facilities in South Africa. The company said it would switch out the first furnace in the March-May period and the second in April-May.

The company had the option to switch the first furnace back on 1 May.