LANXESS are on the way to becoming the world’s biggest supplier of chrome ore to the chemical industry with 80 million tons of extra reserves found in the chrome ore mine operated by LANXESS in South Africa. ‘With these we will be able to safeguard the growth of this profitable business for several decades’, said LANXESS management board chairman Axel C Heitmann while visiting the mine in Rustenburg. The mine is run by the Leather business unit and mainly supplies company sites in South Africa and Argentina that process the raw material into products for leather manufacture.

LANXESS are already among the world’s top producers of chrome ore for chemical applications. With these newly discovered reserves the company will considerably expand their position in this market. They are currently devising a concept for mining these additional volumes and have already invested €5 million in measures to improve efficiency and safety at the site. Currently nearly 200 employees work for the mine.

In February LANXESS completed the acquisition of the Dow Group’s 50% interest in Chrome International South Africa (CISA) in Newcastle. The now fully consolidated subsidiary will operate with immediate effect under the name LANXESS CISA (Pty) Ltd. ‘With the completion of the acquisition we are the only company to handle the entire value creation chain from the chrome ore to the leather tanning materials’, added Heitmann.

The ore from Rustenburg is processed into sodium dichromate and chromic acid in Newcastle in the world’s most modern chrome chemicals plant. Processing into chrome tanning salts for the global tanning industry then takes place in Merebank.

The leather business unit belongs to the performance chemicals business unit, which achieved total sales in fiscal year 2006 of €1,812 million.