Industry News

 

SEPTEMBER 2021

Opinion: Steel Master Plan needs refining if it is to help revive downstream industry

In this opinion article, Duferco MD Ludovico Sanges argues that the Steel Master Plan is a good start, but that certain key issues still need to be addressed if the embattled downstream steel industry is to be revived.

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AUGUST 2021

Up to 450 MW for cleaner, greener ferrochrome envisaged

Stainless steel production has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, resulting in robust demand for ferrochrome and chrome ore and better pricing on both, Merafe CEO Zanele Matlala said on Tuesday when the company reported cash-rich results supported by increased production.

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JULY 2021

Improvement in manufacturing production data encouraging – SEIFSA

The continued improvement in manufacturing sector production and sales data is an indication of sporadic signs of economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) said today.

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Macsteel appoints new COO

Macsteel Service Centres South Africa has appointed Tom Cowan COO.

Cowan, who holds a mechanical engineering degree, has been in the steel industry for 29 years – all of which he has spent working for Macsteel.

Under his leadership, the Macsteel VRN business, which manages the application-specific performance steel supply chain, has grown into one of the leading suppliers and processors of specialty and carbon plate.

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ChromeSA steadfast that ‘destroying another industry’ is not the way to save the ferrochrome industry

ChromeSA on July 7 maintained that “destroying another industry” – referring to the majority of South Africa’s chrome ore producers – is “not a solution” to challenges faced by SaveSA Smelters, a group which represents individuals and companies negatively impacted by the current state of the South African ferrochrome sector.

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Mining vital to economy, can help guide country’s path – President

Mining is vital to the South African economy and the opportunities that exist in mining can help guide the country’s path to a more inclusive and equitable economy, President Cyril Ramaphosa stated on Monday.

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JUNE 2021

Steel production increased by 16.5% y/y in May

World crude steel production for the 64 countries reporting to industry association the World Steel Association (worldsteel) increased by 16.5% year-on-year to 174.4-million tonnes in May.

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South African ferrochrome furnaces need to regain competitive advantage, warns Roskill

The South African ferrochrome industry has benefitted from recent events in China, which commodity research consultancy Roskill says has removed significant global capacity through the closure of small furnaces.

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Stainless steel production increases by 24.7% to 14.5 million tons in the first 3 months of 2021

The International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) has released figures for the first three months of 2021 showing that stainless steel melt shop production increased by 24.7% year–on–year to 14.5 million metric tons.

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Columbus Stainless wins Gold and Bronze at the 2021 International Stainless Steel Forum Awards

Every year the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) awards members for good practices and novel ideas in the areas of Best Technology, Best Market Development, Safety and Sustainability. The organisation recently announced the winners of their 2021 annual awards in the different categories and half of its annual prizes were awarded to Acerinox Group projects. 

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Message from the ISSF Secretary-General

The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 a dramatically challenging year for everyone, both in their personal and professional lives. Our global society has shown its resilience in fighting this invisible enemy whilst our people have continued their daily lives with a steadfast spirit. The stainless steels industry had equally managed to show that same level of determination and resilience. During 2020 stainless steel consumption fell by just 2% compared to 2019, however there were significant regional differences

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Macsteel launches third Macsteel Express franchise partnership

Steel merchant Macsteel has launched the third of its independently owned Macsteel Express franchise partnerships, in Nelspruit, on June 1.

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MAY 2021

Global crude steel production increased 23.3% y/y in April

World crude steel production for the 64 countries reporting to industry body the World Steel Association increased by 23.3% year-on-year to 169.5-million tonnes in April.

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New research shows South Africa well-placed to export ‘green iron’ to EU

Initial research conducted for the Deep Decarbonisation Pathways (DDP) project in collaboration with the National Business Initiative (NBI) indicates that there is an emerging opportunity for South Africa to produce so-called “green iron” for export to international steelmakers seeking to transition away from the use of carbon-intensive coking coal in the production of the basic material.

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Iron-ore euphoria of today arising out of iron-ore despair of yesteryear offers crucial policy lesson, says mining analyst in a ‘Postcard to the President’

If you bought R100 000 worth of shares in Kumba Iron Ore at the start of 2016, you would now be sitting on shares worth a staggering R2.67-million, excluding dividends.

The global iron-ore market has literally gone from the depths of despair at the end of 2015 to the acme of euphoria now – and therein lies a huge reason why mining policy in South Africa must be formulated to deal with the hugely valuable highs but devastating lows that are a feature of the cyclical nature of the mining business.

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Seifsa encouraged by manufacturing output growth in March

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) has described the year-on-year improvement in manufacturing production in March as encouraging, despite coming off a low base, with March 2020’s output having been negatively impacted on by lockdown restrictions.

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Iron-ore turns ‘very, very hot’ as prices jump 10% in minutes

Iron-ore futures leaped higher as trading opened on Monday, extending a record run amid rampant Chinese demand and a wider surge in commodity prices as the global economy recovers.

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Prevailing low capacity use in manufacturing industry a worry for Seifsa

Persistent low levels of capacity use in the manufacturing sector and low demand for locally manufactured goods are “worrying” trends compounding the prevailing Covid-19 restrictions that are limiting operations at industrial plants, says the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa).

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Iron-ore’s blistering rally sets sights on $200 as steel booms

A surge in steel consumption as the world emerges from its pandemic-induced slump is set to drive iron-ore to an unprecedented high as the biggest miners struggle to keep up with the frenzied pace of demand.

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APRIL 2021

World crude steel production up 15.2% y/y in March

World crude steel production for the 64 countries reporting to the World Steel Association (worldsteel) was 169.2-million tonnes in March, marking a 15.2% increase year-on-year.

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Worldsteel forecasts 5.8% steel demand growth in 2021 and 2.7% growth in 2022

Industry body the World Steel Association (worldsteel), in its ‘Short Range Outlook for 2021 and 2022’, forecasts that steel demand will grow by 5.8% to 1.87-billion tonnes this year.

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South African ferrochrome industry ‘running out of time’ as it fights for survival, sustainability

South Africa’s ferrochrome industry has taken its first steps towards independent power generation, with plans to generate up to 750 MW of its own electricity (comprising wind, solar and cogenerated power) by 2024, Mining Weekly can report.

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Sasol and Air Liquide initiate first phase of 900 MW renewables procurement process

Sasol and Air Liquide have formally announced plans to jointly procure 900 MW of renewable-energy capacity from independent power producers (IPPs) by 2030 and have issued a request for proposal (RFP) through which they aim to procure an initial 600 MW this year.

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Increase in tanks demand presents challenges

Despite a global increase in stainless steel tanks production over the past 12 months – particularly for the food and beverage sectors – some subsectors are facing challenges, says stainless steel supplier Columbus Stainless market development manager Lerato Mashigo.

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Multi Alloys to merge with EMVAfrica

Special alloys company Multi Alloys will merge with EMVAfrica to become a specialised division of the stainless steel products and valves company on May 1.

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MARCH 2021

Zimbabwe says China’s Tsingshan to build iron ore mine, steel plant from May

China’s Tsingshan Holding Group is set to start developing an iron ore mine and a carbon steel plant in Zimbabwe from May, the African country’s information minister said late on Tuesday, three years after the firm first announced the investment deal.

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Four strategic water projects ‘ready for investment’

As infrastructure deployment plays a central role in South Africa’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, four water-related projects under the recently gazetted Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs) are gearing up for implementation.

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Merafe loss decreases, electricity risk remains, logistics challenge intensifies

Although the loss suffered by ferrochrome company Merafe Resources decreased in 2020, its electricity risk remains and its logistics challenges are intensifying.

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South African ferrochrome producers divided on new export tax

Some industry stakeholders have suggested that a special electricity tariff would be a “better way” to support the embattled ferrochrome ore industry, rather than government’s recently approved export tax on exported chrome.

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Seifsa partners with Venncap to help metals, engineering companies secure funding

Industry body the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) has partnered with funding consulting firm VennCap Business Solutions to assist metals and engineering sector companies to secure funding for their businesses and enable them to chart a course to sustainability as efforts to revive the economy get under way.

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FEBRUARY 2021

Global crude steel production up 4.8% y/y in January

Crude steel production for the 64 countries that provide data to the global industry body the World Steel Association (worldsteel) increased by 4.8% year-on-year to 162.9-million tonnes in January.

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M&E sector output to recover this year after 15% decrease recorded for 2020

The metals and engineering (M&E) sector was without doubt under pressure in 2020 owing to lower steel production and general trading restrictions, Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) says in its latest ‘State of the M&E Sector’ report.

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Essential for SA to retain primary steel industry

If lost, it would be expensive and difficult to replace

As former editor of Business Day and the Financial Mail, Peter Bruce should know that it is advisable to talk to a wide range of firms in the steel and steel products industry before writing about a contentious issue, rather than quoting the views of one industrialist, whose views are not representative of the views of business across the industry, upstream and downstream.

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Seifsa calls for finalisation, implementation of Steel Master Plan

Industry body the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) has called for the finalisation and speedy implementation of the Steel Master Plan, which it believes will benefit primary and downstream players in the local steel industry.

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Macsteel commits to paying SME suppliers in 30 days

Steel merchant Macsteel has committed to paying small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) suppliers within 30 days, in a bid to contribute to the growth of this critical sector of the South African economy.

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ArcelorMittal South Africa reports second-half profit as supply squeeze lifts prices

Steelmaker ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) return to profit in the second half of its 2020 financial year on the back of steel-shortage-induced price rises that negatively affected many domestic downstream consumers and have led to growing calls for a lifting of import protection.

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SAISC urges stakeholders to raise steel shortage concerns amid Itac import rebate investigation

The International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) has reportedly received a policy directive from Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel to investigate the creation of a rebate facility of customs and safeguard duties to cover imported flat steel products used by the downstream steel industry.

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Global steel price rally to be short-lived – Fitch

The recent global rally in steel prices will be short-lived, with prices starting to decline towards the end of the first quarter of 2021, as steelmaking production continues to be restarted.

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Cutifani shares thoughts on role of industry amid pandemic

Diversified miner Anglo American CE Mark Cutifani says the global mining industry has, for the most part, been able to show resilience amid the pandemic and provide assistance to communities beyond what governments in many jurisdictions are able to do.

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Long road ahead for metals and engineering sector, warns Seifsa

Industry organisation the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) says recent economic data shows that the metals and engineering (M&E) sector has a long and difficult road ahead to recovery, notwithstanding hope that interventions will provide some relief for industry players.

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JANUARY 2021

Oxygen supply hampered by logistical issues, but there are adequate reserves, say suppliers

Industrial gases company Afrox has confirmed that it has adequate reserves of liquid oxygen in storage across South Africa and that it has supplied oxygen as required by public and private hospitals in all provinces at substantially higher than normal demand levels

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Obituary: Eric Samson, a great loss for the steel industry and the country 

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of the founder and majority shareholder of the Macsteel Group, Eric Samson.

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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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