Industry News

 

DECEMBER  2020

Metal prices expected to average higher in 2021 amid recovery from Covid-19 – Fitch Solutions

Financial risk management, solutions and insights company Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research (Fitch Solutions) expects miners and metal producers to experience a more favourable pricing environment in 2021 with nearly all mineral and metal prices forecast to average higher on a year-on-year average basis in 2021.

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NOVEMBER  2020

Global steel output up 7% y/y in October as industry recovers

Global crude steel production in October rose 7% year on year to 162-million tonnes as other countries joined China in a recovery in industrial activity.

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Chrome producers want ferrochrome solutions that exclude export tax

South Africa’s non-integrated chrome ore exporters want to discuss ways of solving the existential threat to South Africa’s struggling ferrochrome industry to avoid the need for a tax being imposed on the export of locally mined chrome ore.

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Chrome export tax a positive step, special electricity dispensation now needed – Phiri

The imposition of a tax on the export of chrome ore is a positive step, but to enable South Africa’s once-dominant ferrochrome industry to compete successfully once again, electricity prices should be made affordable by way of special dispensation, says mining stalwart Steve Phiri, who was speaking in his personal capacity and not representing the views of Minerals Council South Africa, of which he is vice president.

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Ferrochrome commits to 750 MW self-generation, junior mining support

South Africa’s struggling ferrochrome industry has committed itself to far-reaching efficiencies and competitiveness initiatives, including the self-generation of 750 MW of wind, solar and cogenerated power, support of junior mining development and the encouragement of local coking coal production.

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Eastern Cape’s localisation supermarket sees healthy uptake

Local companies have made bids to produce 25% of the automotive parts listed in the Automotive Industry Development Centre Eastern Cape’s (AIDC EC’s) Localisation Supermarket.

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ChromeSA says proposed export tax will not bode well for local producers

Industry organisation ChromeSA says the proposed chrome ore export tax would have a devastating impact on primary and upper group two (UG2) chrome producers, given that they sell the bulk of their production for export.

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OCTOBER  2020

Struggling ferrochrome needs chrome export tax as interim measure – Richards Bay Alloys

The struggling electricity-intensive South African ferrochrome industry, which has taken significant strides to increase its efficiency and reduce its electricity consumption, needs urgent steps to be taken to enable it to restore its competitiveness.

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South African Cabinet approves export tax on chrome ore

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa, the world’s biggest chrome producer, has approved measures to support the domestic ferrochrome industry including through an export tax on chrome ore, according to a Cabinet statement on Thursday.

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Council says lower power prices are among what ferrochrome industry needs

While the Minerals Council South Africa welcomes government’s steps to support domestic ferrochrome production and the chrome value chain, it has expressed disappointed at government not addressing competitiveness in its Cabinet statement delivered in the week of October 23.

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South Africa’s iron-ore sector to benefit from rising Chinese demand

South Africa’s Northern Cape is considered a “fantastic mineral region” and African Rainbow Minerals ferrous division CE Andre Joubert believes iron-ore, besides other commodities, is likely to benefit following the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Itac reveals changes to PPS to avail scrap metal for local steelmakers

The International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) has completed its initial investigation into the supply of scrap metal as an input to the domestic steel-producing industry.

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SEPTEMBER  2020

Foot on the Gas – Developers of Matola LNG terminal intensify talks with potential customers to reach 2023 supply date

The front-end engineering design phase for a proposed greenfield liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal at the Port of Matola, in the Mozambican capital of Maputo, is underway and the developers of the project are now intensifying discussions with potential energy and industrial off-takers in both Mozambique and South Africa.

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South African steel sector requires investment, increased local procurement

The global spread of Covid-19 has locked the local steel industry in a chokehold, further weakening the already distressed manufacturing sector, says steel manufacturing company Veer Steel Mills business strategy and projects manager Neil Reddy.

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Global chromium production impacted by Covid-19 outbreak, says ICDA

Chromium production and consumption remained constrained during the second quarter of this year, in line with lockdown restrictions implemented in various countries, says the International Chromium Development Association (ICDA).

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Global steel output up 0.6% y/y in August

Global steel production for the 64 countries reporting to the World Steel Association (worldsteel) increased by 0.6% year-on-year to 156.2-million tonnes in August.

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METF needs increased support to safeguard SA mining’s future

The South African minerals industry relies on high quality graduates in the fields of Mining, Metallurgy/Chemical Engineering and Geology to ensure its long-term sustainability, says the Minerals Education Trust Fund (METF) – which was formed with this objective in mind.

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AUGUST 2020

Covid-19 disruptions cut global steel production

Global crude steel production for the 64 countries reporting to the World Steel Association (worldsteel) was 2.5% lower year-on-year at 152.7-million tonnes in July.

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Covid-19 impacts business landscape in the steel manufacturing industry, says Macsteel

African manufacturer, merchandiser and distributor of steel and value-added products Macsteel is planning to leverage on technology to sustain its business growth as part of its post-Covid-19 business continuity plan.

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Seifsa calls for urgent business support following economic resumption

As South Africa ends its first week under Alert Level 2 of the national lockdown, industry organisation the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) is hopeful that the increased economic activity from the reopening of key sectors will boost the recovery of metals and engineering businesses that have been “brought to their knees” by the pandemic, says Seifsa chief economist Dr Michael Ade.

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DTIC makes case for export tax on scrap ahead of infrastructure-led recovery effort

The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) has again underlined its support for the implementation of an export tax on scrap metal as a way of securing supply for domestic scrap-consuming industries and sustaining primary steel production capacity ahead of government’s proposed infrastructure-led recovery from Covid-19.

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Greater collaboration needed in steel supply chain

To ensure security of steel supply, the South African Institute for Steel Construction (SAISC) is calling for greater collaboration among all players in the local steel supply chain, from upstream producers to downstream merchants.

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Neasa withdraws High Court application to interdict more custom duties

The National Employers’ Association of South Africa (Neasa) has withdrawn its urgent application in the Gauteng High Court to stop the implementation of a 10% import tariff and custom duties on coated flat-rolled products.

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New duties another dose of ‘slow poison’ to steel industry, says Neasa

The National Employers’ Association of South Africa (Neasa) has reiterated its dissatisfaction with government’s approval of an extended 8% safeguard duty on hot rolled coil, bringing the total duty payable on this product to 18%.

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Seifsa says high court ruling in favour of the DTIC ‘gives hope’

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) has welcomed the High Court ruling in favour of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) in a procurement matter, saying that it will boost struggling local businesses amid the pandemic-induced economic recession.

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Specialised steel extends life of ore wagons

Stainless steel manufacturer Columbus Stainless advocates that the much longer life span of ore wagons achieved using 3CR12, makes it clear why stainless steel is the cost-effective choice for equipment in ore-handling processes.

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Neasa approaches High Court to stop new steel import duties

The National Employers’ Association of South Africa (Neasa) has filed an urgent application in the Gauteng High Court to stop the implementation by the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) of a 10% import tariff and custom duties on coated flat-rolled products.

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Treasury invites comment on Itac metal export tax rates recommendations

The National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service (Sars) have published, for public comment, the various draft taxation documents, including the proposed introduction of an export tax on scrap metals.

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JULY 2020

Sweet like sugar, solid like steel: Patel unpacks moves to save industries

Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel, told Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry that the sugar and steel industries in South Africa have been allowed to operate in the country during the lockdown, but were still being undermined by dynamics such as oversupply and cheap imports.

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AMSA seeks import protection on hot-rolled coil and heavy beams

Steel producer ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) has submitted two separate applications to the International Trade and Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) requesting import protection on hot-rolled coil (HRC) and heavy structural beams respectively.

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Seifsa warns of impact of higher electricity tariffs on metals, engineering sector

Industry organisation, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) says it is “disappointed” about the recent court judgment against the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa).

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Sasol to sell world’s biggest oxygen production site to Air Liquide

JSE-listed petrochemicals company Sasol has signed a negotiation agreement with industrial gas company Air Liquide for the sale of Sasol South Africa’s 16 air separation units (ASUs), in Secunda.

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Virtual event to showcase opportunities arising from mega Moz gas projects

A virtual event is being planned for early August to expose South African companies to the opportunities that are likely to arise directly from the mega-scale liquefied natural gas (LNGprojects that are starting to take shape in northern Mozambique, as well as various associated projects, ranging from a new airfield, to housingroads, warehouses and offices.

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Solidarity welcomes DTIC’s move to investigate scrap metal supply

Trade union Solidarity has welcomed Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel’s trade policy directive, which proposes an investigation into measures to help support the South African metals industry, which is facing significant challenges.

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Mining output down nearly 30% y/y, but up by 44% m/m in May

Mining production decreased by 29.8% year-on-year in May, as a result of the lockdown restrictions in South Africa.

This follows April’s (revised) unprecedented plunge of 50.3% year-on-year, says Investec, with restrictions on production, global growth concerns, together with supply chain disruptions and subdued domestic demand continuing to weigh on mining activity in May.

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Investors in mining exploration should be incentivised – ANC’s ETC

Listings of mining companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange should be encouraged and South African retail investors willing to invest in mining exploration should be incentivised as is the case in other mining jurisdictions, the economic transformation committee (ETC) of the African National Congress (ANC) states in a 30-page discussion document just released.

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Patel directs Itac to look into scrap metal price preference system

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel has issued a trade policy directive to the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) to urgently look into measures to help support the scrap metals industry.

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Seifsa eagerly awaits scrap metal industry relief

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) has welcomed government’s announcement that it has tasked the International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) of South Africa to look into measures to support the metals and engineering (M&E) sector.

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JUNE 2020

Metals, engineering sectors to ‘walk the tightrope’ to economic recovery

The road to the metals and engineering (M&E) sector’s post-Covid-19 recovery will be long and will require extraordinary and targeted policies to walk the tightrope towards an economic reboot, Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) chief economist Dr Michael Ade said in a statement on June 24.

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Pandemic dashes hopes for a domestic steel sector turnaround

The international Covid-19 outbreak, which has disrupted the South African and global economies, has thrown another “spanner in the works” for the already embattled domestic steel sector and could seriously hamper, or even prevent, a recovery.

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Covid-19 compounds challenges in Africa

The legislation put in place amid the Covid-19 pandemic is compounding the “exceptionally challenging” business environment already faced by companies when operating in Africa, where each country presents its own challenges, says Macsteel Exports senior branch manager Adrian Isemonger.

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MAY 2020

ISSF announces winners of the Stainless Industry Awards in a webinar

Columbus Stainless, won first prize for a project aimed at developing modular constructions using 3Cr12 grade stainless steel. The project was developed with Turnkey Modular, with which a manufacturing technique was achieved that takes advantage of the considerable flexibility and precision of laser-cut construction components, thus forming an exceptionally strong exoskeleton structure. This has enabled the product to be extremely scalable without the need for intervention of other processes.

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Local tanks on track for delivery to Zim mine

Ten large steel tanks for diversified miner RioZim’s Cam and Motor gold mine, in Zimbabwe, are on schedule to be installed by South African stainless steel fabrication and erection specialist Betterect, as part of the mine’s gold processing plant expansion.

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Lockdown further strains stainless steel recycling

Prior to the national lockdown, South Africa’s stainless steel recycling industry was under strain, facing a dramatic drop in available recycling material and increasing input costs, says Johannesburg-based stainless steel recycler Cronimet director Bernard Maguire.

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Macsteel merges fluid control, pipes divisions

Steel and value-added steel products supplier Macsteel has merged its fluid control division with its pipes, fittings and flanges division. The vertical merger forms part of the company’s focus on increasing operating efficiency and strengthening its position in the challenging economic climate.

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Pandemic, economic challenges to shape industry direction

Industry trends are likely to take a new direction because of the global Covid-19 pandemic and a severely constrained local economy, says steel and value-added steel products merchandiser and distributor Macsteel.

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Steel production likely to stagnate or decline this year, says Roskill

Steel production in developed economies is likely to either stagnate, or decline completely, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to influence and impact on the global economy, consultancy Roskill steel alloys principal consultant Erik Sardain said on May 5.

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Fitch Solutions expects most metal markets to move into a surplus this year

Most metals markets are expected to move into a surplus this year, says research firm Fitch Solutions, noting that consumption is likely to decrease more than the decreases in production capacity, as a result of the spread of Covid-19.

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APRIL 2020

Stainless steel from NAS aids in fight against COVID-19

North American Stainless and its 1.500 workers are producing thousands of tons of high-quality stainless steel used on the front lines of the U.S. healthcare system as it battles COVID-19, according to the company’s CEO Cris Fuentes.

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Steel downturn evident in global production figures for March

World crude steel production for the 64 countries reporting to the World Steel Association (worldsteel) decreased by 6% year-on-year in March to 147-million tonnes.

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EU reviewing steel imports in view of possible glut – trade chief

The coronavirus crisis could lead to massive stockpiling of steel that could then flood the European Union when demand returns, the EU trade chief said on Tuesday, adding this was something the bloc would seek to guard against.

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Organisation calls for govt assistance to ‘reshape’ steel industry post-lockdown

The decision to put South Africa under lockdown as part of its response to Covid-19 “has put further pressure on the steel industry”, says research organisation Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (Tips).

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South Africa lockdown squeezes global chrome supply

Samancor Chrome, one of the world’s biggest ferrochrome producers, has declared force majeure because of South Africa’s 21-day coronavirus lockdown, removing further supply from global chrome markets.

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MARCH 2020

NDE stainless steel active during COVID-19 lockdown

Along with many of our customers and the rest of South Africa, NDE is going into lockdown in full support of government’s commendable actions to slow the spread of the pandemic with the following measures (until further notice):

  • We remain in business – remotely but actively.
  • While our offices and switchboards are closed, we invite you to contact us by cell and email for information and orders – Skype and WhatsApp are also options.
  • The NDE lockdown team in the Western Cape is available to ensure all communication channels are open and that our service remains the very best that we can offer in these unusual circumstances.

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Warning of ‘significant losses’ in South African mining industry if coronavirus outbreak is not contained soon

A newly released report by Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS) warns that South Africa’s mining industry could suffer “significant losses” should the coronavirus, or Covid-19, not be contained in the short term, which the authors defined as being by April 2020.

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FEBRUARY 2020

Local steel industry still holds much potential

The current capacity and capabilities of the local steel industry are still largely understated, says export trade promotion agency the International Steel Fabricators (ISF).

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Stainless steel growth unlikely in 2020

The level of activity in the local stainless steel sector’s value chain has dwindled in the past decade, mainly owing to international competition, low steel prices and the slow growth of the local economy.

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Metals, engineering sector set for ‘unremarkable’ growth this year

Last year was generally challenging for both the domestic and global economy, as weakening demand, manufacturing and trade and investment restrained progress, with extended negative implications for the metals and engineering (M&E) sector, which is poised for “unremarkable” growth this year.

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Patel asked to brief lawmakers on government’s response to ongoing steel job cuts

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has written a letter to Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel calling on him to brief lawmakers about developments at steel group ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA), which recently warned of additional job cuts at the company.

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Coronavirus hurts base metals, iron-ore prices

The outbreak and contagion of a new strain of the coronavirus – which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December – has contributed to renewed concerns over economic growth prospects, particularly in China.

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JANUARY 2020

Global crude steel output increased 3.4% in 2019

Global crude steel production increased by 3.4% year-on-year to 1.87-billion tonnes in 2019, despite output having contracted in all regions, except Asia and the Middle East, industry association, the World Steel Association (worldsteel), reports.

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Samancor Chrome may cut nearly 2 500 jobs

South African miner Samancor Chrome said it could cut close 2 500 jobs in response to weak chrome prices and power supply problems, according to a letter to unions seen by Reuters on Wednesday

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