FACOR orders new ferrochrome plant

News Analysis




FACOR orders new ferrochrome plant

Metso has received an order from FACOR (part of Vedanta) for a new 300ktpy ferrochrome plant in India to be commissioned in 2025.

The new plant will include sintering and preheating technology for chromite feed into the new 75MVA submerged arc furnace, which would make it the largest furnace in India to date. FACOR’s current plant in India consists of four smaller furnaces with a combined capacity of 72ktpy, which has been suspended since October last year due to a reported shortage of briquettes. The sintering plant would also increase the utilisation potential of chromite fines in India, which has already transformed the South African and Chinese ferrochrome landscape over the last two decades.

Ferrochrome production in China reached new record levels in 2023, after several years of stagnating growth during a consolidation period in the country. The demand for ferrochrome is fundamentally driven by stainless steel and while crude steel in general is seeing a structural shift in China, stainless is forecast to continue to ramp up.

India’s own stainless steel aspirations form part of the country’s strategy to reach its Vision 2047. As outlined by the Indian Government's targets, stainless steel production is aiming at a 70% increase by 2030, reaching 7Mt. This expansion will be facilitated by increasing the installed capacity from 6.8Mt to 9.4Mt, with improved capacity utilisation.

Ferrochrome is forecast to capture the strongest growth potential of the bulk alloys, with as much as 5Mtpy of new capacity needed to meet 2050 demand outlook scenarios. Much of this will likely be met by conversions and upgrades in China with new capacity outside China competing with other southeast Asian countries, mainly Indonesia and India for now, for growing stainless steel capacity. While India has significant idle capacity, growing supply with the latest technology will also be critical to compete for established Western markets, with carbon emission taxes set to add cost barriers in the fast-approaching future.