International delegates discussed future challenges of the chrome industry and visited ERG’s new ferroalloy plant in Aktobe as part of the ICDA Members Meeting conference in Kazakhstan
Eurasian Resources Group (“ERG”), a leading diversified natural resources producer, assisted in organizing the annual members' meeting of the International Chromium Development Association (ICDA) in Astana. This year, the conference participants also visited ERG's new ferroalloy plant in Aktobe for a special technical tour.
The ICDA is the unique voice of the chromium industry integrating members from mining to processing, end-using and trading as well as any company having an interest in chromium; its history spans more than 30 years. ‘We are delighted to welcoming all of you in Astana as part of the international conference of ICDA, one of the greatest industry organisations,’ said Mr Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of ERG, in his speech at the opening session.
In his welcome address to the conference, Mr Alik Aydarbayev, First Vice Minister of Investments and Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan, thanked ERG’s and Kazchrome’s management, on behalf of the Government, for their active and responsible participation in the implementation of the Republic of Kazakhstan’s State Programme of Industrial and Innovative Development. He also conveyed a message from the Head of State concerning the third modernization and the introduction of “Industry 4.0”.
‘According to World Steel Association, global steel consumption will reach 2 billion tonnes by 2030, this requires developing the production of ferroalloys and the respective mineral resource base. It is well known that ERG has been working continuously on this. The Group is implementing major projects at the Aksu and Aktobe Ferroalloy Plants and the Donskoy Ore Mining and Processing Plant,’ said Mr Aydarbayev.
Mr Sobotka said: ‘We believe we are at the beginning of a new super cycle for high performance commodities such as chrome, and also cobalt, that are needed to fuel the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Kazakhstan is a very important country for the chrome industry. At Eurasian Resources Group we’ve got 70 years life of mine left at the current exploitation state. I think this is a great sign for the industry in terms of sustainability of production and supply for the growth that we are seeing is taking place. We have put this increasing focus on sustainable development which includes long term production goals, contracts and investment plans.’
Mr Azamat Bektybayev, First Deputy President and Vice President for Technical Matters at JSC TNC Kazchrome, gave a separate presentation on the development of the ferrochrome market. ERG is a global leader in ferrochrome production by chrome content. JSC TNC Kazchrome, owned by ERG, is a strategic supplier of ferroalloy products to Asian and European markets, including China. Its product range includes all types of ferroalloys and feedstock for ferroalloy production, which ensures manufacturing flexibility for the Kazchrome's operations.
‘At Kazchrome we’re very proud to be working in the environment of its great history that has started probably three generations ago and continue this path of sustainable development and exploitation of one of the world’s best chrome mines. Today structurally this is probably the lowest cost mine in the world with its full integration: we’ve got our own railway, own infrastructure and power, own reductants. The risks that you might find in other countries are much lower here, in Kazakhstan. We’ve also implementing a comprehensive programme across the company focused on the elements of Industry 4.0, which is automation and the use of data. Besides digitalization, we’re deploying innovative technologies, including feed preheating and processing of ferrochrome dust and tailings,’ added Mr Sobotka.