Swiss-registered Afro Minerals Trading said July 16 in an email to S&P Global Platts that it had given notice to its customers and service providers of a force majeure, with factors beyond the company's control preventing it from fulfilling its delivery obligations.
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In an email sent to Transalloys -- South Africa's largest silicomanganese producer -- and replied by sales agent Afro Minerals Trading, or AMT, the company said it would continue to monitor the situation in South Africa, including logistics around ports and Transalloys, and will advise as soon as possible when normal operations would resume.
"It is however extremely difficult right now to establish a timeline for normalization, but we hope those disruptions will ease over the next few weeks," Afro Minerals Trading said in a statement.
"As the major transport corridor from Transalloys to the Port of Durban, the N3 Highway is completely blocked and the Port of Durban itself is not operational. The ongoing unrests have created major security concerns, effecting both the movement of people and supply chains. Therefore, Transalloys has declared a Force Majeure to AMT on Monday 12th of July," AMT said.
Minerais -- the largest supplier of silicomanganese to the US, almost all of it from Transalloys -- said the force majeure notice did not apply to the US, only to Afro Minerals Trading in Europe.
Violent protests erupted in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province over the past week after the High Court dismissed former South African President Jacob Zuma bid to have his arrest overturned, which meant he remains in jail for 15-month sentence for contempt of court.
In August 2020, Transalloys declared force majeure following a fire incident that severely impacted the raw materials handling system feeding its five furnaces.
At the time, Transalloys had already announced a cut in its silicomanganese production target for 2020 to 120,000 mt from 170,000 mt as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown, high electricity tariffs and adverse market conditions.