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November 13, 2002 | 2154 IST
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Tata Steel to set up ferrochrome plant in S Africa

Tata steel has decided to set up a multi-million dollar ferrochrome plant in Richards Bay, about 150 Km away from the port town.

Senior management of the company have already visited the town to make a preliminary study of the potential sites for establishing the $ 40-million project, Mayor of Richards Bay Denny Moffat said on Wednesday.

The visit by the managing director of Tata Steel, B Muthuraman, and other senior managers follow 18 months of intensive negotiations between Tata Steel and the local municipality.

A final decision is expected to be made early next year.

"Tata Steel's quest to increase its global market brought them to South Africa and more specifically to the port town," Muthuraman told reporters in Richards Bay.

He said Australia and South Africa had been the final choices for such an investment. The company felt confident in South Africa where it already had links and enjoyed a common cultural understanding.

If a final decision is taken to establish the plant at Richards Bay, high quality chrome ore would be shipped to the port for conversion to ferrochrome. It would then be exported for use in manufacture of stainless steel.

South Africa's Council for Scientific Industrial Research has already been commissioned to undertake an immediate environmental impact assessment.

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