Chrome SA has applied to the Competition Commission for an exemption from competition regulations, in order to discuss the possible export tax in detail, and engage with government, as a group - behaviour which would otherwise be seen as anti-competitive.
Companies mining chrome ore in South Africa and represented in Chrome SA include Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum, Sibanye-Stillwater, and Tharisa.
The tax, if it is implemented, would have an impact on Chinese demand, and chrome ore prices globally would likely rise to account for it, said Dmitriy Ossinin, market analyst at metals trading firm Unichrome in Switzerland.
Production of stainless steel ingredient ferrochrome, involving smelting chrome ore in a furnace, is highly power-intensive and South Africa's unreliable electricity supply has pushed up costs, hurting the industry.
The cabinet also proposed energy efficiency technologies on smelters, and cogeneration and self-generation technologies, as interventions which could help the ferrochrome producers.
Shares in ferrochrome producer Merafe Resources, which has a joint venture with Glencore, jumped 25% on news of the proposed export tax.