Afrox announced recently that it had won a R35m gas and welding supply contract for the International Ferro Metals (IFM) Buffelsfontein ferrochrome production facility, in South Africa’s North West province – according to Creamer Media’s Engineering News.

The five-year contract is due to include bulk liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), oxygen and carbon dioxide, as well as compressed gases and welding consumables. The Afrox bulk products would be employed primarily during chrome ore pelletising, with LPG used for heating during the sintering stage, and oxygen for tap hole lancing at the smelter.

“Gas comprises an important component of the chrome ore sintering and ferrochrome smelting process and any disruptions to supply seriously compromises our production obligations,” explained IFM South Africa COO, Mike Horn.

IFM SA said that support logistics considerations were, therefore, pivotal to the contract award and added that Afrox had a good track record in southern Africa for supplying large-scale metals processing projects similar to Buffelsfontein.

Richard Crosby, Afrox Metals and Mining Sector Manager, apparently said the Buffelsfontein contract was the result of a firm Afrox commitment to supplying large-scale capital projects in South Africa.

As well as holding a strong track record in services to the metals industry, Afrox is also dedicated to medical gas supply for the healthcare sector, underlined as recently as May with an installation at a Soweto hospital.

The Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto has now ensured security of supply of medical oxygen with the largest installation of bulk storage tanks at any hospital in South Africa, courtesy of Afrox.

The move ensures the treatment of patients is secure as the four tanks can hold up to 110 tonnes of oxygen at any one time, with Afrox Healthcare investing R3m in installing the strategic supply tanks.

“Afrox has a long association with the state healthcare sector and is proud to be partnering with the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital,” said Afrox Healthcare General Manager, Lerato Mosiah.

“At Afrox Healthcare we believe the future of ensuring medical oxygen is readily available to hospitals lies in strategic storage facilities and we are committed to investing in such facilities as part of our commitment to local communities and healthcare in South Africa,” she added.

The strategic storage tanks - two of 45 tonnes and two of 10 tonnes - were officially brought on stream at a special opening ceremony attended by Dr Arthur Manning, the hospital’s Chief Executive, Afrox Managing Director Tjaart Kruger and a number of senior hospital and Afrox staff.

Afrox’s commitment to medical gases and the importance of these products was highlighted at the gasworld African Conference 2008, as the company’s Quality & Regulatory Affairs Manager Innocentia Mbatha dicussed the role of medical gases as medicinal products and the many standards or regulations that go with this.