JOHANNESBURG – Base mineral and metals miner Assore said on Tuesday its headline earnings for the six months ended December increased by 20 percent to R2.92 billion, largely on the back of Assmang, in which it has a 50 percent stake.

During the first 6 months, the company experienced an improved price basket and a weaker exchange rate which were countered by some difficulties with inland logistics on certain product lines, chief executive Charles Walters said.

Assore said manganese ore prices were higher for both 44 percent and 37 percent manganese content grades, compared to the same period the previous year. Sales volumes of iron ore and chrome ore were lower than in the previous period due to unforeseen inland logistical challenges while sales volumes for manganese ore and alloys were higher. 

“Increases in demand out of China for high quality ores continue to play out well for Assore’s quality product portfolio," said Walters.

A declining trend in steel prices and reduced steel mill profitability in China seen towards the end of the period was anticipated to result in a swing back to ore with lower iron content, leading to a narrowing of price differentials between the various grades of ore available in the market, he added.

Assore’s principal investments comprise of a 50 percent interest in Assmang, which it controls jointly with African Rainbow Minerals Limited.

It owns Dwarsrivier, an underground chrome mine located in Limpopo province with a production capacity for 1.6 million tons of chrome product annually.

African News Agency (ANA)