An operation that seeks to produce up to 20% of the global austenitic stainless steel production is extremely vulnerable in terms of material and energy inputs. Any disruption in the supply of raw materials, water or energy places the manufacturing operation under immediate and irresistible threat - if any of these are withheld, production ceases. Immediately.
For a plant of the size and extent of the Lamergyre operation, such a vulnerability cannot be commercially embraced, and the project team have addressed these vulnerabilities by comprehensive vertical integration of material supply, energy production and tertiary beneficiation into the operations of the plant, creating a manufacturing "gestalt" that incorporates ownership and control of the key elements of the supply > production > distribution logistics chain
The critical factors of supply vulnerability that need to be addressed through integration have been identified as energy, water, nickel, molybdenum and chrome.
These are by no means the sole resources applied in the manufacture of austenitic stainless steel - but they are the factors that are either uniquely sourced in South Africa or are in scarce global or local availability.
The feasibility of the plant therefore logically embraces mining and on-mine beneficiation of nickel, molybdenum and chrome, with the positioning of ferrochrome and nickel-cobalt separation plants on site.
The plant design incorporates on-site, environmentally sequestered storage, providing a 3-month raw material buffer capacity for effective regulation of process throughput.
Energy supply is secured by a horizontally integrated on-site LNG gas terminal feeding dedicated CCGT power generation plant, furnaces and DRI. Co-generation systems for reclamation of process heat are embedded, and conservation of energy is a foundational principle informing the design of Lamergyre's built environment.
Every erg is sacred, as is every drop of water.
The new greenfield steel plant and associated infrastructure is designed for optimal rainwater harvesting, runoff and stormwater collection.
Waste reduction is achieved by dedicated blue-, grey- and blackwater reticulation, process vent recovery and state-of-the-art leak detection and consumption monitoring.
With effective management the plant can ultimately be a nett-positive contributor to available local supply of energy and high quality potable water.
The plant manufactured materials [austenitic stainless steels in either long or flat product] are produced for wholesale distribution to value-add manufacturers.
However, the proximation of manufacturing factors of production [energy and water from the plant, skilled and semi-skilled unemployed labour from the urban environment] provide a synergetic and cost efficient basis for in-situ manufacture, that at once reduces market inefficiency and risk to the plant, while increasing the overall production value-add by orders of magnitude.
To this end, the plant concept moves from the integration of mining operations to the integration of tertiary manufacturing operations with a view to the management and minimization of investment and operations risk