Industry News

 

AUGUST 2022

Metal recyclers say proposed metal export ban will negatively impact price of scrap metal

Industry organisation the Metal Recyclers’ Association of South Africa (MRA) says the six-month ban on the export of metal proposed by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), would detrimentally affect the price of all South African scrap metal, and, in turn, negatively impact the recycling sector and all sources of scrap generation, including manufacturing, construction and mining, as well as the informal sector.

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JULY 2022

Air Products and Columbus Stainless: A relationship cast in stainless steel

Air Products prides itself on its commitment to customer experience. This is reflected in the number of customers they have maintained long-standing relationships with. The solid foundation of these relationships stem from Air Products’ approach which uses; innovative measures and technology to provide customers with quality products that enable them to avoid delays and breakdowns in their operations. Air Products recently assisted their biggest argon customer, Columbus Stainless, to overcome a production challenge which could have had a severe impact on their operations.

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Crude steel production down 5.9% y/y in June – worldsteel

World crude steel production decreased by 5.9% year-on-year to 158.1-million tons in June, industry body the World Steel Association (worldsteel) reports.

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Boldly going where no material has gone before!

Beyond stainless steel – an online workshop on nickel alloys for industrial applications

The Southern African Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda) is proud to announce a brand new CPD accredited half-day online workshop Beyond Stainless Steel that will take place on Wednesday 7th September 2022. This SAIMechE validated, webinar style, course will focus on the exciting high nickel-containing stainless steel options that are set to change the future of the industry as we know it.

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Financial frontrunner takes the lead ay Weldamax following Air Products acquisition

Air Products acquired the largest company in their distributor network, Weldamax. As an integral player in Air Products’ distributor business model, Weldamax distributes gases and a comprehensive range of welding products through its countrywide network of branches – which trade under the name Unique Welding. Air Products’ Financial Manager, Gaetano Perillo has been appointed as the new CEO after heading up Air Products’ finance department for several years.  

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Sustainability efforts set to affect steel industry

The steel industry has been fraught with challenges, ranging from Covid-19-related impacts to supply chain issues, but the move towards more sustainable practices will also result in many changes in steel industry processes, says South African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) technical director Amanuel Gebremeskel.

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Positive outlook despite new challenges

The steel industry is emerging from the challenging period caused by global commodity issues in 2016, followed by Covid-19-related disruptions, and now the Ukraine war.

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Industry continues to face supply chain woes

The stainless steel industry has been under severe supply chain pressure caused by rising prices of raw materials, such as nickel, as well as shipping and logistics and energy costs, in Europe and Asia.

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Distributor awarded Guinness World Records status

In a display of pursuing reinvention with their pioneering technology, steel and value-added steel products merchandiser and distributor Macsteel broke a world record to become the new Guinness World Records title holder for the longest roof span covered by a single metal corrugated sheet.

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JUNE 2022

South Africa imported record volumes of steel in 2021, new report shows

At close to 1.7-million tonnes, South Africa imported record volumes of primary steel in 2021, constituting about one-third of all steel used in the country, a new Steel Report published by the South African Iron and Steel Institute (SAISI) confirms.

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Company produces over 1Mt of corrosion resistant steel

Stainless steel manufacturer Columbus Stainless, based in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, says it has produced more than one-million tons of its 3CR12 chromium-containing corrosion-resistant stainless steel for a variety of applications for local and international clients.

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Better together: Bolt and Engineering Distributors and First Cut: jointly distributing Messer Cutting Systems products in South Africa

In 2019, Bolt and Engineering entered into an agreement with First Cut, the primary distributor in South Africa for Messer Cutting Systems, a global supplier of cutting solutions for the metalworking industry. According to the agreement, B.E.D. and First Cut, a highly-respected South African provider of cutting, welding and grinding consumables and equipment, would jointly distribute Messer’s products and solutions in South Africa.

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MAY 2022

Macsteel set to break a world record for roofing solution

Steel and value-added steel products merchandiser and distributor Macsteel, in partnership with Tate & Nicholson, Fortress, Pick n Pay and Wilson Bayley Holmes-Ovcon (WBHO), has applied pioneering sky forming technology to break the world record for the longest roof span covered by a single metal corrugated sheet.

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Steel master plan conference reveals action areas that need urgent attention

There are a number of areas with clear to-do lists and action plans that the industry must collaboratively undertake to ensure the successful implementation of the steel industry master plan.

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AfCFTA holds opportunities for South African industry

With progress being made on negotiations for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), South Africa’s steel industry could capitalise on opportunities emanating from the AfCFTA agreement, once it is implemented.

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Employers must drive implementation of the Steel Master Plan, says SEIFSA

The pivotal role that employers must play in ensuring the objectives of the Steel Master Plan become a reality was highlighted at the Steel and Engineering Federation of Southern Africa’s (SEIFSA’s) Mainstreaming the Steel Master Plan Conference on May 19 and 20.

This is the view of SEIFSA CEO Lucio Trentini, who said that everyone who attended the conference – captains of industry, senior member of government and union leaders must stand together in wanting the Steel Master Plan to succeed, though employers have a particularly important role to play.

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Steel Master Plan presents immediate opportunities for industry, govt

There are a number of opportunities both government and industry can capitalise on immediately while pursuing the implementation of the Steel Master Plan, speakers agreed during a panel discussion at the Mainstreaming the Steel Master Plan Conference on May 19.

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Nickel demand boomed in 2021; this year it will be supply

LONDON, May 18 (Reuters) – Global nickel usage surged by an extraordinary 16.2% last year on the back of booming demand from both the dominant stainless steel and fast-growing battery end-use sectors.

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ArcelorMittal sees global steel demand drop on Ukraine war

ArcelorMittal expects global steel consumption to contract this year as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine slows the economic rebound from the pandemic.

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APRIL 2022

Scaw CEO attributes R2bn steel mill investment to scrap certainty created by master plan

Scaw Metals CEO Doron Barnes has attributed the company’s recent decision to invest R2-billion in a new hot-strip steel mill, in Gauteng, directly to the steel master plan, which he insists has the potential to revive both upstream and downstream industries.

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Stainless steel industry perseveres in challenging conditions

Despite significant challenges, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and its ripple effects, the stainless steel sector has shown adaptivity, innovation and resilience.

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Steel production decreases in first quarter

World crude steel production for the 64 countries reporting to industry organisation the World Steel Association (worldsteel) was 161.0-million tonnes in March, a 5.8% decrease compared with March 2021.

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MARCH 2022

New Seifsa COO calls on govt to create a business-friendly environment

The South African government should focus on implementing a set of policy objectives that make the operating environment in the metals and engineering sector more business-friendly and ensure that the cost of production is lower, industry organisation the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa’s (Seifsa’s) new COO Tafadzwa Chibanguza suggests.

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Stainless steel production increases by 10.6% to 56.3 million tons in 2021

The International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) has released figures for the full year 2021 showing that stainless steel melt shop production increased by 10.6% year–on–year to 56.3 million metric tons.

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Metals, engineering sector expands above pre-Covid-19 levels, but downside risks remain

Production levels in the metals and engineering sector had reached pre-Covid-19 levels by December 2021, and production in the sector expanded by 4.7% month-on-month between December 2021 and January this year.

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Nickel chaos resounds from stainless steel to electric vehicles

The London Metal Exchange’s suspension of nickel trading after soaring prices left brokers facing huge margin calls has also upended the market for a key industrial commodity.

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Foundation aims to build businesses

Manufacturer, merchandiser and distributor of steel Macsteel has established Macsteel Foundation Solutions, a business born of the company’s strategy to reimagine and reengineer its business model to drive growth for the company and create value for customers in the construction industry and across untapped markets in Africa.

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JANUARY 2022

MSI assists young people with business development skills

The Mpumalanga Stainless Initiative (MSI) will from next week run an entrepreneurship programme to assist young people to effectively start businesses or scale up existing small businesses into high-growth ventures, through structured entrepreneurship training.

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Global steel production increased by 3.7% y/y in 2021

World crude steel production for the 64 countries reporting to the World Steel Association (worldsteel) reached 1.95-billion tonnes in 2021 – a 3.7% year-on-year increase.

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Seifsa to focus on being voice of the industry, advancing collective bargaining

Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) CEO Lucio Trentini expects this year to be as challenging as the last two years, particularly as the steel industry is in a crisis, but it is focused on formulating deliverables in terms of the Steel Master Plan.

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DECEMBER 2021

As global steel industry mulls sustainable solutions, SA urged to ‘green’ iron-ore

Producing ‘green steel’ in South Africa might be a distant dream, but exporting ‘green iron-ore’ is achievable in the medium term, says Afriforesight materials engineer and project innovation manager Dr Brandon Davoren.

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Steel that kills Covid-19 in hours? Manufacturers to test new alloy

Researchers in Hong Kong said they have developed the world’s first stainless steel that kills the Covid-19 virus within hours, adding to the arsenal of products being created globally to curb the pathogen that triggered the worst pandemic of the past century.

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Steel’s path to go green will cost industry up to $278bn

The world’s steel industry could eliminate its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through ramping up recycling, using hydrogen for fuel and capturing carbon from older plants, according to a BloombergNEF study. But getting there won’t be easy.

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NOVEMBER 2021

Global steel production down 10.6% y/y in Oct – worldsteel

World crude steel production for the 64 countries reporting to industry body the World Steel Association (worldsteel) was 145.7-million tonnes in October, a 10.6% decrease compared with October 2020, the association said on November 23.

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OCTOBER 2021

Neasa recommends its members implement 5% increase for nonstriking workers

The National Employers’ Association of South Africa (Neasa) has recommended that its members in the metal and engineering sector implement a 5% increase, across the board, for employees who are not currently on strike.

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Seifsa urges members to implement final offer for employees

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) has strongly suggested that affiliated member companies start implementing a new, final wage offer proposed by the federation earlier this week.

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Steel demand expected to return to pre-pandemic levels this year

This year has seen a stronger-than-expected recovery in steel demand, leading to upward revisions in the World Steel Association’s (worldsteel’s) forecast across the board except for China.

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SEPTEMBER 2021

Strike threatens nascent recovery under way in metals sector, Seifsa warns

A protracted strike in the metals and engineering sector would severely undermine the nascent recovery under way in the industry following what was a deep Covid-linked slump in 2020, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) warned on Thursday.

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Engineering sector strike looms as wage talks deadlock

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) on Tuesday announced that it would embark on a national strike in the engineering sector from October 5, after wage talks deadlocked.

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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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