Chrome sulfate in short supply

19 May 2005

Due to the boom in the construction industry in China, the Chinese are buying large volumes of steel in which chromite is a key component. Chromite is the chromium ore that is mined in many areas across the world and in particular South Africa. Chromium sulfate is a key component in the tanning and retanning process so suppliers of chromium currently face a shortage of the necessary raw materials. Due to the shortage, prices have risen three fold and many suppliers of chrome to the leather industry have either low stocks or in some cases no stocks at all. According to Mehmet Atukalp, sales and marketing director of Sisecam Chemicals Group, Türkiye, companies such as BASF and Elementis have both announced price increases due to the scarcity. According to Atukalp, there will be no obvious respite until the construction industry in China slows down. Atukalp told Leather International that his company have more orders than they are able to fill as suppliers have stopped producing due to high costs or they cannot source raw materials. The ones who have been able to continue supplying are currently sold out. Sisecam offer a complete range of products for the tannery and now supply 36% of Chinese chrome sulfate imports. Both organic and inorganic products from the Tankrom range of chrome sulfates have been selling well at APLF. The company originally began producing 2,000 tonnes per year in 2001 in China and this has grown to a total of 18,000 tonnes today.

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