From the Northern Ontario Business, published Sept. 7, 2016 by Ian Ross on communities vying for Noront’s potential ferrochrome smelter….
“Since there’s no domestic production, the entire U.S. ferrochrome demand is based on imports.
Of the 400,000 tonnes imported per annum, 300,000 tonnes comes from South Africa and 100,000 tonnes arrives from Kazakhstan.
“We’re not going to displace the Kazakhstani stuff; it’s too cheap,” said Coutts (Noront President and CEO). “But we can displace the South African stuff because we think we can produce for less than the 90 cents to $1.30 that the South Africa stuff that’s landed in the U.S.
“The return on the project is pretty good at current pricing. If it gets back to longer-term price expectations of a $1.40, it looks very handsome.”
To take over half of the U.S. market – or 200,000 tonnes of ferrochrome – all that’s required is a half-million tonnes of ore, said Coutts. “That’s a little tiny mine.”
Coutts said they’re not trying to corner the Northern American market.
“That’s ridiculous. We’re saying, let’s get a nice low-cost product out there that can get us an entry into the market, perhaps displace two-thirds of expensive South African ferrochrome.”