United Manganese of Kalahari (UMK) is cutting manganese ore production by 50% for December and January in response to poor market conditions, a spokesman for the company told Metal Bulletin.

“We have reduced our production for December and January by approximately 50%. If this market situation continues we will continue to produce at this level,” John Joseph Scholtz, a spokesman for UMK’s exclusive sales agent Kalahari Trading told Metal Bulletin.

“We are not willing to destroy value and export material at a loss,” Scholtz added.

The production cut will bring the miner’s exports to about 80,000-120,000 tpm manganese ore.

Globally, manganese ore prices have fallen by as much as 53% since the start of 2015, largely due to very weak demand from China.

Metal Bulletin’s 37% manganese ore index fell to $1.47 per dmtu on Friday November 20.

Fellow miner South32 has already confirmed that its manganese mines in South African will remain closed until January, following a fatality on November 2 that led to production being suspended.

Metal Bulletin reported in mid-November that large production cuts were being rumoured for the coming weeks.

Janie Davies 
Twitter: @janiedavies_mb