Chromium: COVID-19 causes ongoing disruptions to logistics

The Lebombo border post between South Africa and Mozambique was closed for one day after an official from the South African Revenue Service (SARS) tested positive for COVID-19 on 15 July.

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The Lebombo border is a key node for the export of chromium ores and concentrates to leave the eastern Bushveld chromite mines of Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces via the Mozambican Maputo port. While the closure was only in place for little over 24 hours, the situation highlights the intermittent supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Trade statistics show exports of chromium ores and concentrates declined in April during the peak of South Africa’s lockdown restriction to around 60% of typical monthly exports. While mines have been allowed to return to operation since May, exports only recovered slightly at first, before returning to January levels in June.

Ongoing intermittent disruptions from COVID-19 are expected to continue as the number of cases rise in South Africa’s mining and raw material export hubs. The disruptions to logistics are expected to cause various and shifting bottlenecks to supply from South Africa, as demand from China ramps up from underlying support to its steel industry.

Roskill published its Chromium: Outlook to 2030, 16th Edition report in June 2020. The report includes a detailed analysis of supply and costs of chromite and the impacts of COVID-19 across the industry. For more information or to subscribe, click here.

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This article was written by Nils Backeberg. Please get in touch below if you wish to discuss further:

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