VAAL INDUSTRIAL & BUSINESS GUIDE
Samancor first began producing ferroalloys in 1938 as African Metals Corporation Limited (Amcor) at a small plant in Newcastle to exploit mineral deposits and process them into ferroalloys for the steel industry. In 1942 the operations extended and the first furnaces at the Vereeniging plant were commissioned. In 1945, the Vereeniging furnaces produced a total of 9,000 tons of ferroalloys, a production which had increased in volume to 15,000 tons in 1951. The Vereeniging works area could not accommodate additional furnaces, and Amcor purchased a 1,200-acre site on the farm "Kookfontein", near Meyerton. The group’s existing manganese alloys (Metalloys) operations at Meyerton dates back to 1951 when Amcor’s ferroalloys works at Vereeniging closed down.
Samancor was created in 1975 through the merger of SA Manganese Limited (established in 1926 to mine manganese ore near Hotazel in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa) and Amcor. Samancor Limited was delisted from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in December 1998, and is currently jointly owned by BHP Billiton (60%) and Anglo American Corporation of South Africa Limited (40%). The Samancor Manganese’s (a division of Samancor Limited) Metalloys plant in Meyerton converts manganese ore mined near Hotazel in the Northern Cape into manganese alloy material used primarily in the steel making industry.
Also located within the Metalloys plant is Advalloy, a joint venture between Samancor and Mitsui of Japan. Advalloy has the capacity to produce 75,000 ton of refined manganese alloys for export to the Japanese market. DMS Powders, a Samancor business unit located on the Meyerton Metalloys site, is the only producer of both milled and atomised ferrosilicon, with an annual production capacity of 32,000 ton milled and 7000 ton atomised product. These products are primarily used in the dense medium separation of minerals and scrap metals.
Manganese, a gray-white metal, is essential to iron and steel production by virtue of its sulphur fixing, deoxidising, and alloying properties.
Ferromanganese is an alloy which is added mainly to obviate the harmful effects of sulphur in steel. Ferrosilicon is used as a cleanser and deoxidising agent. Silicon manganese is employed in the place of ferromanganese or ferrosilicon mainly for economic reasons. It is also used whenever lower carbon or specific alloying characteristics are required.
Examples of end-products, having high-strength properties due to the incorporation of manganese, are structural steels, high tensile pipe steels and heavy plates, engineering steels and some manganese stainless steels.