JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – South African manganese producer Assmang will make further output cuts at its operations, owing to reduced demand for steelmaking materials.
Jan Steenkamp, CEO of the ferrous division of African Rainbow Minerals (Arm), which owns a 50% stake in Assmang, said on Friday that it planned to continue running its ferromanganese smelters at the Cato Ridge operations at 60% of capacity until at least September or October.
Only the number one, two and six furnaces would remain operational.
It would review the situation in September or October, he said, adding that conditions remained uncertain. However, the number three and four furnaces would not likely be started up again in the next 12 months.
Further, it was planning to close all the smelters at its Machadodorp operations for about three months during the 2009 calendar year. The number one and five furnaces were still currently producing.
Steenkamp confirmed that a number of jobs would be lost at both the Cato Ridge and Machadodorp operations, but he would not be drawn on the exact number, saying the company was still discussing the matter with unions.
However, the company was hoping to recruit many of the employees who were retrenched from the manganese operations at its Khumani iron-ore mine, which was busy ramping up to full production.
Steenkamp noted that the company was optimistic about the iron-ore industry, saying it expected to sell more iron-ore in the new financial year than it had in the 2009 financial year.