SaveSA Smelters calls for government to impose tax on chrome ore exports
Share this article:
Pretoria - With unemployment figures rising in South Africa amid rising coronavirus infections, lobby group SaveSA Smelters has urged the government to speed up the implementation of the mooted tax on the export of raw ore, as it announced in October last year.
SaveSA Smelters convener Lindelani Nyathikazi said the proposed introduction of an export tax on chrome ore would help resuscitate the struggling industry that sources say employs about 68 000 people.
In October last year, the Cabinet announced that it was considering levying the export tax as part of a raft of measures to support domestic ferrochrome production and its chrome value-chain sector.
Nyathikazi said some people who were opposed to the tax on chrome ore were evidently supporting the “ransacking” of the country’s mineral resources without benefiting local communities.
He reiterated that his organisation would not allow the country’s minerals to leave the country without benefiting citizens, and called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to make good on the Cabinet’s promise to protect the sector by imposing the tax with immediate effect.
“Eight months later (since October) there is still no announcement. We would like to reposition our country as the destination of choice for investors in the steel and stainless steel value chain.
“We used to be very big in the supply of steel. We had a lot of plants, and now we have lost a lot of them as companies opt to export the raw ore and beneficiate outside the country,” Nyathikazi said.
He added that when mining companies were forced to pay the export tax on raw ore, they would then consider beneficiation and value addition processes within South Africa, and in turn create much-needed jobs.
Some analysts have suggested that the introduction of the export tax on chrome and chrome ore would result in South Africa being repositioned as the global leader in ferrochrome production due to local product beneficiation, as opposed to the current position of largely exporting raw materials.
SaveSA Smelters has warned that 80 000 jobs are in line to be affected in the coming months in the smelting business if the government does not implement urgent measures.
Last year, South Africa reportedly supplied 12.5 million tons of chrome ore to China, or more than 80% of the Chinese imports.
South Africa is the world’s biggest chrome producer.
African News Agency (ANA)