Raw material producer and trader to the foundry and steel industry Metall-und Ferrolegierungsgesellschaft mbH Hafner, Blondin &Tidou (MFG), based in Meerbusch, Germany, has diversified into supplying chromite and refractory raw materials by launching a new subsidiary, MFG Materia GmbH based in its new location Lübeck, near Hamburg, Germany.

Title Image Conveying Chromite: Bauba Resources’ Moeijelijk Chrome Mine in Limpopo province, South Africa, with which Pelagic Resources has an evergreen offtake agreement, will be the primary source of chromite for MFG Materia. Courtesy Bauba Resources.

MFG Materia GmbH was founded in late June 2023 and is headed by Armin Zander, Managing Partner, together with MFG shareholders Thomas Hafner and Bernd Blondin.

This initiative will complement MFG’s trading product portfolio with chromite, alumina/magnesia-based materials and others for refractory and associated applications; this not only for the already familiar foundry market, but also pursuing the refractory market for the first time.

Zander is well-known for his expertise in the global refractory mineral supply community. He brings to MFG some 27 years of experience in sourcing and trading industrial minerals.

Armin Zander commented: “I am very happy to head this new and exciting branch of the business which I am sure will be of great benefit to all involved. The fact that Pelagic/Bauba awarded us their representation in the market is an enrichment.”


Exploiting and enjoying the synergies of the metallurgical, foundry and refractory markets at the GIFA-METEC trade show, Dusseldorf, June 2023; (l-r) Armin Zander, Antje Ziegler (MFG Materia), Mike O’Driscoll (IMFORMED) Thomas Hafner (MFG Materia & MFG).

MFG – serving the metallurgical industry

Founded in 2004, MFG is a producer and trader which has had a traditional core focus on metals, pig iron, ferro alloys, aluminium alloys, cupola furnace briquettes, roller briquettes, secondary materials, and silicon carbide.

The company produces cupola furnace briquettes, which enable the controlled addition of alloying components in cupola and shaft furnaces during the melting process, such as ferrosilicon and silicon carbide.

MFG’s cupola furnace briquette production plants are located in Krefeld, Germany (operated by MFG Processing GmbH, founded in 2012), and in South Haven, Michigan (operated by USMFG Inc., founded in 2013).

MFG also trades a wide range of raw materials for the foundry, steel, and alloy sectors.

Clearly, these industries have a great synergy with the refractories industry, since refractories are imperative for successful steel and metallurgical manufacturing.

Thus MFG Materia GmbH, with its extensive market experience, will be able to facilitate MFG’s introduction to this new sector with additional refractory raw materials such as chromite and magnesia.

MFG products

MFG‘s plant in Krefeld, Germany (top); briquettes (bottom left) and silicon carbide (bottom right). Courtesy MFG

Chromite – the South African connection

Of note is that MFG Materia, and specifically Zander, brings to MFG an important, and relatively recently developed source of South African chromite through Pelagic Resources Group.

Established in 2016, Pelagic Resources specialises in global principal trading, agency trading and mining investments, and is headquartered in Singapore with offices in Johannesburg, Harare, and Shanghai.

Pelagic trades a wide range of metallic ores such as cobalt, copper, manganese, lithium, platinum, vanadium, and chromite – mainly sourced from Africa.

In 2021, Pelagic acquired 23% of Bauba Resources Ltd, a junior mining company operating a chromite mine and developing and exploring other chromite deposits in South Africa (in February 2022, Raubex, one of South Africa’s leading infrastructure development and construction materials supply groups, acquired a majority stake in Bauba).

The move secured an “evergreen offtake agreement” for Pelagic to market all of Bauba’s current and future metallurgical and speciality chrome ore production.

In addition to this, Pelagic provided Bauba with a financing facility to develop its Kookfontein chrome/PGM project, further cementing the relationship between the two firms.

Bauba’s Moeijelijk Chrome Mine in Limpopo province, South Africa, mines the LG6 and LG6A seams, producing foundry grade, chemical grade and metallurgical grade chrome ore and PGM concentrates. Courtesy Pelagic Resources

Bauba has two operating mines, the Moeijelijk Chrome Mine in Limpopo province, and the Nuco Chrome Mine (Kookfontein) in Rustenburg, North West province.

Moeijelijk was established in 2015 as an opencast operation. The mine has since been transitioned to an underground operation where its first wash plant was commissioned in 2018, supplying run-of-mine chrome-ore and chrome concentrate for exports.

Production capacity is 40,000 tpm ore, with some 5m tonnes of resource with various life-extension opportunities.

Located on the Eastern Limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex, Moeijelijk mines the LG6 and LG6A seams, producing foundry grade, chemical grade and metallurgical grade chrome ore and PGM concentrates. About 250,000 tpa of all grades of speciality chromite is produced.

In 2020, Bauba obtained a mining right for its Kookfontein Chrome Project. The Kookfontein Mine was commissioned in 2021 and has the capacity to mine up to 80,000 tpm and hosts 11m tonnes of mineable resource with various life-extension opportunities.

Kookfontein exploits the Western Limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex, mining UG, MG and LG seams with significant PGM credits. The mine began its production of UG2 ore during 2022 and since concluding the UG2 pit has focused on primary chrome ore production.

Currently, the mine is constructing its own proprietary processing facilities to produce high-grade chrome concentrate from the MG and LG seams, the plant is expected to be completed and commissioned by the end of 2023.