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Assore is a mining holding company
The group’s principal investments consist of its 50% interest in Assmang, which it controls jointly with African
Rainbow Minerals Limited (ARM) and its 100% interest in Dwarsrivier. The group, through its various joint venture
entities and subsidiary companies, is involved in the mining of iron, manganese and chrome ores
together with other industrial minerals and the production of manganese alloys. The group is also responsible
for marketing all products produced by the Assore and Assmang groups, the bulk of which is exported and the
remainder either used in the group’s beneficiation processes or sold locally.
The company was incorporated in 1950 and its shares are listed on the JSE Securities Exchange (JSE)
under “Assore” in the general mining sector.
26,07% of the company’s shares are controlled by two broad-based black economic empowerment
community trusts: the Boleng Trust (14,28%), and the Fricker Road Trust (11,79%). The Minerals and Petroleum
Resources Development Act required that by 1 May 2014, 26% of mining companies’ shares are controlled by
historically disadvantaged South Africans.
Iron ore is mined in the Northern Cape province in open-cast operations at the Khumani Iron Ore Mine which is located near Kathu in the Northern Cape and at the Beeshoek Iron Ore Mine which is located outside Postmasburg. The ore produced is sold both on the export market and locally.
Various grades of manganese ore are mined at the Nchwaning and Gloria mines, located in the Black Rock area of the Northern Cape province, and manganese alloys are produced at the Cato Ridge Works in KwaZulu-Natal. Cato Ridge Alloys, a joint venture with Japanese partners,
Chrome ore is mined at the Dwarsrivier Chrome Mine in the Limpopo province, located near Steelpoort and Lydenburg. The ore produced is sold both on the export market and locally. With effect from 1 July 2016, Assore owned 100% of Dwarsrivier (refer note 35.1 to the consolidated annual financial statements).
The company mines a type of pyrophyllite which, for trade purposes, is referred to as Wonderstone. The bulk of the material mined is beneficiated to produce high-precision components manufactured to customers’ specification and are exported to the United States of America, the United Kingdom and the Far East.
The processing and sales of the last remaining chromite and low grade ores were completed whilst rehabilitation of selected mining areas has commenced. All operations relating to either mining or processing have ceased with only rehabilitation or care and maintenance activities ongoing.
Minerais U.S. LLC is responsible for marketing and sales administration of the group’s products in the United States of America (USA), in particular manganese alloys, and trades in various related commodities.
Markets for the group's products for the past financial year were much stronger than initially anticipated due to improved levels of world economic growth. This led to increased demand for crude and stainless steel, which had a positive effect on demand and prices for steel-making commodities. Average prices for iron ore were 37% higher than during the previous financial year, while prices for manganese and chrome ores were approximately double those of 2016.
The financial results of the Assore group are largely dependent on the level of global economic growth, as the majority of commodities produced are used in the production of crude and stainless steels, the consumption of which is intimately related to global capital spend.