Primary raw material distribution company Pentagon Resources has successfully negotiated the first six years of its existence to now be in a position whereby their clients in the foundry, steel mill, refractory, electroplating, galvanising and mining industries regard them as first choice suppliers.
“In today’s business environment, your competitive edge is no longer just your product or people, but your services and processes too. The service level and processes that you offer lead to reliability and ultimately to trust in your business and products,” explained Joshua van Flymen, founder of Pentagon Resources.
“We started operating in November 2014. The company was established to service the foundry industry initially but has since grown to include a number of related industries,” continued Van Flymen.
“We had an early breakthrough in the beginning when we successfully negotiated to sell and distribute foundry and related industries products emanating from the Mogale Alloys processing plant in Krugersdorp, Gauteng.”
Ariel van Flymen, Joshua van Flymen, Daniel Mohoasone and Adam Levin
“Foundry related products are generally seen as a byproduct of the focused area of supply, which are the stainless steel and platinum producers. Chromite sands, ferrochrome alloys and silicon manganese products are almost an afterthought but are number one in many foundry’s production processes.”
“It is therefore very difficult to source the foundry related product despite the abundance of the raw materials in South Africa. South Africa has vast reserves of chromite, manganese ores and vanadiferous ores. This position makes South Africa unique in the world.”
“South Africa’s rich mineral deposits could be key to boosting the country’s economic growth, especially post COVID-19. While the local mining industry has emerged relatively unscathed, the pandemic has highlighted the need to build a stronger economy that is resilient in the face of future threats. One of the key areas where South Africa can maximise its potential for economic growth is the beneficiation of its extracted minerals.”
“Historically, exports of extracted minerals have been predominantly with low levels of value addition. We’ve allowed South Africa’s mineral wealth to be stripped and shipped, without maximising direct benefit to the country. If we beneficiated our own raw materials, growth would emanate through a number of avenues, including industrialisation, which would result in greater returns.”
“Beneficiation is the process of improving or adding economic value to extracted raw materials, transforming them into higher value products, which can then be consumed locally or exported. The process itself is energy intensive, and requires a consistent supply of low-cost energy in order to be effective. This presents the largest barrier to local beneficiation in South Africa.”
“The cost of power today and the inefficiencies of our state-run utility Eskom, has had an enormous impact on the South African economy and our way of life. Mining, foundries and the mills are big consumers of power. Back in 2010 Eskom said that the mining industry accounted for 15% of Eskom’s output at the time. It would be interesting to see what the figure is today but with all the negative talk around Eskom, including all the corruption involving coal supply, I doubt whether they even know what the figure is.”
“An example of the impact is that included in our range of products that we source and supply is extra low carbon ferromanganese for the casting/foundry industry, medium carbon ferromanganese for steel plants, low carbon ferromanganese for alloy steel and low carbon ferromanganese for the steel industry.”
“South Africa has the largest, land-based, Mn-ore reserves, that have been exploited by a number of mining companies. Although the country is primarily an exporter of manganese-bearing ores, it has four smelter complexes beneficiating ore by producing high carbon ferromanganese, medium carbon ferromanganese, and silico-manganese.”
“We are reliably informed that the four smelter complexes are now down to only one.”
“Mogale Alloys, which is part of the internationally diversified listed company Afarak, has been in operation since 1983 and is considered to be a centre of excellence because of its direct current (DC) furnace technology. DC furnace technology is approximately 20% to 30% more cost efficient than traditional furnace technology.”
“In 2013 Mogale Alloys invested approximately R185.1 million in a ferroalloy refining and granulation plant. Monthly production capacity of the plant is 1 500 tons of medium carbon ferrochrome. The chromite Mogale Alloys processes are supplied by the Stellite and the Mecklenburg chrome mines, which are also part of the Group.”
The Mogale Alloys complex
“When Pentagon resources was established we concentrated on supplying foundries with high carbon alloys including plasma and medium charge (MC2), which is an IC3 substitute.”
“We have now diversified to be a recognised supplier of ores, ferro alloys, base metals and non-ferrous alloys in South Africa, into the African continent and also internationally.”
Ferroalloys and base metals/non-ferrous alloys
“Currently we supply over 40 ferroalloys around the globe, focusing primarily on the foundry and steel industry, and we distribute and trade in non-ferrous metals and alloys including copper, lead, tin, zinc, nickel and aluminium, in different forms.”
“Amongst others, Pentagon Resources sells high and medium carbon ferrochrome and silicon manganese. Ferrochrome, also known as charge chrome, is an essential ingredient in producing stainless and specialty steels. Ferrochrome increases mechanical properties and corrosion resistance. These products sold by Pentagon Resources are used in the foundry industry.”
“In the last five years we have made a concerted effort to explore markets north of South Africa and we have been very successful in supplying existing and new foundries that have been established that are supplying components to the mining industry in the rest of Africa. We have been very surprised at how many foundries have emerged in the last few years.”
“The pandemic has also forced us to be creative and seek markets in the rest of the world. Bulk shipping is now no longer a phenomenon in the company. There are opportunities if you are willing to work hard.”
“It is our ambition to supply the industry with quality products and hence sourcing these products is all important. We want to be recognised as the ‘Amazon’ of metal and alloy supply in South Africa. Jeff Bezos and his organisation have found a way to optimise nearly every piece of the supply chain puzzle. From warehousing and inventory management to delivery times and prices. This is our goal,” concluded van Flymen.
For further details contact Pentagon Resources on TEL: 011 028 4225 or visit www.pentagonresources.co.za