Industry News

MARCH 2024

SASSDA revives sought after Awards in Celebration of its 60th Anniversary

As Sassda proudly celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2024, it has also announced the highly anticipated return of the Sassda & Columbus Stainless Steel Awards supported by title sponsor Columbus Stainless and category sponsors Euro Steel, Macsteel and NDE.

Centred around the theme, ‘Sustainability: A Legacy of Brilliance’ the awards will take place on 19th September 2024 and will honour the enduring strength and durability of stainless steel, while recognising the resilience of the local stainless steel industry in navigating the current challenges it faces.

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Low demand threatens sustainability

The South African steel sector is facing significant challenges, primarily because of oversupply, in addition to very little demand, coupled with economic constraints.

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Metals, engineering output up 1.7% but still far below 2008/9 peak

While aggregate production in the South African metals and engineering sector increased by 1.7% last year, which is slightly higher than the 1.5% increase in 2022, it remains 18% below where it was in 2008/9

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More than 290 000 jobs on the line as steel sector continues its decline, Seifsa warns

Over a five-year period, the average 1.3% a year decline in the metals and engineering sector will lead to an average 2.9% decline in employment, or 293 754 direct and indirect job losses, industry organisation Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) COO Tafadzwa Chibanguza warns

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Downstream companies implore ArcelorMittal South Africa, govt to avoid long steel plant closures

The South African downstream steel industry has urgently appealed to both steel producer ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) and the government to find immediate solutions that will allow the continued operation of the three AMSA plants that make up the company’s long steel business in South Africa.

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US agrees preliminary deal with Africa on extending Agoa by ten years, says Patel

The US has reached preliminary agreement with African nations to extend their preferential trade access by another decade, pending approval by Congress, South Africa’s trade minister said.

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Seifsa hopes for more PPPs this year

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) will continue to advocate for more private sector participation in public infrastructure this year, with CEO Lucio Trentini stating that many of the country’s challenges can be best addressed through private-public partnerships (PPPs).

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Report poses serious questions about effectiveness of scrap export ban

Serious questions about the effectiveness and desirability of South Africa’s prevailing scrap export ban have been raised in a new report, which calls for its immediate lifting unless evidence can be produced showing that the ban is having the desired effect of preventing infrastructure-related theft.

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ArcelorMittal SA CEO sees no way of avoiding longs closure, says wind down to start in Jan

ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) CEO Kobus Verster believes there is no immediate prospect of addressing the structural issues undermining the financial viability of the group’s long-products business and tells Engineering News that the operations will begin ramping down during January, when they are scheduled to stop receiving steelmaking materials, such as iron-ore.

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Seifsa urges dtic not to extend scrap metal ban

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) says it has noted with concern submissions by other entities to the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) calling for the extension to the scrap metal export ban which is scheduled to come to an end in December.

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Sasol, Air Liquide conclude corporate PPA with Mainstream for 97.5 MW solar project

A 97.5 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project will be constructed in the Free State following the signing of a 20-year corporate power purchase agreement (PPA) between Mainstream Renewable Power and industrial groups Sasol and Air Liquide.

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More education initiatives needed in local industry

Education and skills development remain indispensable for the South African stainless steel industry, however, the training and development of productive and skilled staff has become a “major stumbling block” to the growth of the industry, says Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda) executive director Michel Basson.

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Steel demand expected to increase by 1.8% this year, 1.9% in 2024 – worldsteel

The World Steel Association (worldsteel), in an update of its Short Range Outlook (SRO) for 2023 and 2024, forecasts that steel demand will grow by 1.8% this year to 1.81-billion tons after having contracted by 3.3% in 2022.

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SASSDA strives to unlock the power of local stainless steel

The use of local stainless steel is crucial to driving demand and the subsequent beneficiation of this highly prized metal but work still needs to be done to cement the correct specifications of South African stainless steel components in key strategic projects.

This is the view of the Southern African Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda) which together with the local demand-creating structures of the Steel Master Plan (SMP) has identified and placed a focus on the following projects that can positively impact the local conversion of stainless steel.

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Summit outlines industry plans

International trade limitations, owing to slow market growth in Europe and the US, have, in turn, sparked the implementation of stringent trade conditions in the South African stainless steel industry, says South African Iron and Steel Institute (Saisi) secretary-general Charles Dednam.

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Fuel cell electric vehicle demonstration seen as catalyst for nascent green hydrogen economy

Toyota Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) was refuelled with hydrogen produced by Sasol, using an Air Products dispensing technology. 

In a milestone for South Africa’s nascent green hydrogen economy, three large corporates have teamed up to showcase the potential of using domestically produced hydrogen as a zero-emission transportation alternative.

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Stainless steel sector fights for right to supply local parastatal projects

The use of local stainless steel is crucial to driving demand and the subsequent beneficiation of this highly prized metal, but work still needs to be done to cement the correct specifications of South African stainless steel components in key strategic projects, states the Southern African Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda).

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Climate change, regionalisation to impact on global steelmaking

Global body World Steel Association director-general Dr Edwin Basson contends that signficant trends such as climate change and the need to decarbonise industrial activity, as well as regionalisation and shifts in steel production regionally, are set to significantly impact on global steel production in the coming years.

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Coega Steel Mill project in Eastern Cape to provide rolled metal for manufacturing

Coega Steels, a producer of steel products, aims to establish a state-of-the-art R160 million rolling mill facility project in the Eastern Cape, with the goal to be built by next year.

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New report says localisation policy locking South Africa into ‘wrong path’

A new Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) report argues that the South African government’s policy of localisation is locking the country “into the wrong path” of rising protection and rising inefficiency.

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Sector mulls duty’s future

The intricate task of reconciling the interests of divergent stakeholders, including local manufacturers and downstream industries, lies at the heart of ongoing deliberations by the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC).

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Steel industry vital for South Africa’s industrialisation, Majola says

Trade, Industry and Competition Deputy Minister Fikile Majola has stressed the impact of the local steel industry and its importance to South Africa’s industrialisation, and the challenges that the sector is facing from local and global pressures, emphasising the need to build an “inclusive sector” that contributes to the economy.

Global crude steel production for the 63 countries reporting to the World Steel Association increased by 6.6% year-on-year to 158.5-million tonnes in July.

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Steel suppliers expected to meet new standards

With greater emphasis being placed on safety in the South African steel industry, local suppliers of conveyance piping can no longer merely be accredited by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), owing to the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) having suspended the SABS’ authority to ensure safety and quality standards of these products, with the exception of light wall, low-pressure piping.

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Green steel producer receives clean audit on low CO2 emissions

Ater officially releasing its steel plants’ carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions results, special steel products producer Swiss Steel Holding AG commissioned assurance and risk management provider DNV Business Assurance Germany to perform an independent audit for the 2021 financial year.

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Air Products grows its Gas and Welding Portfolio with Acquisition of EWN&S

Air Products South Africa, and its subsidiary Weldamax, have strengthened their gas and welding portfolio by the acquisition of a controlling interest  in EWN&S. EWN&S and Weldamax were formerly independent distributors of Air Products’ industrial gases as well as supplying a comprehensive range  of welding equipment and consumables.

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JULY 2023

Steel production for June flat, but six-monthly output decreases 1%

The World Steel Association (worldsteel) has reported global production by the 63 countries reporting to it, of 158.8-million tonnes in June.

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Non-competitiveness, non-use plague South African steel industry

The current state of the South African steel industry is one where a lack of competitiveness and the non-use of its installed production capacity continue at a concerning rate, relative to other steel-producing developing countries.

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SMP driving manufacturing opportunities

Within the framework of the Steel Master Plan (SMP), industry body Manufacturing Circle is taking an active role in driving demand-side manufacturing opportunities.

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Firm takes another step towards decarbonisation goals

Despite volatile markets and a difficult geopolitical environment, metals supplier Swiss Steel Group is not wavering in its decarbonisation strategy and is working consistently on tracking carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from its supply chain.

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Air Products South Africa secures renewable power for its ASUs in landmark wheeling agreement

Industrial and specialty gas company Air Products South Africa has concluded a power purchase and wheeling agreement with wind and solar power developer Mulilo Renewable Project Developments, which will result in the companies jointly owning a solar farm in the Northern Cape.

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JUNE 2023

AfCFTA holds promise for SA exports, but implementation roadblocks remain

While the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement presents a significant opportunity to access a larger market for South Africa’s exports and the local manufacturing sector, industry organisation Manufacturing Circle executive director Philippa Rodseth highlights the need for extensive work in terms of implementation.

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APRIL 2023

Ramaphosa reports constructive engagement with steel sector to grow industry

President Cyril Ramaphosa met with business leaders in the steel and engineering industries on April 18 to discuss measures that government, the industry and other social partners will take together to grow the sector and ensure its future sustainability

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Competition Commission steel industry inquiry to look into loss of competitiveness

The Competition Commission of South Africa has gazetted the draft terms of reference for a new market inquiry into the South African steel industry, which will examine whether or not there are any features or combination of features in its value chain that impede, distort or restrict competition in the domestic steel industry.

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South Africa’s green direct reduced iron export potential highlighted as industry mulls decarbonisation options

Government and the steel industry are considering the potential of positioning South Africa as a global exporter of green hydrogen direct reduced iron (GHDRI) as part of a broader discussion to develop a roadmap for the decarbonisation of the iron and steel value chain.

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Sector stays sturdy despite challenges

The stainless steel sector remains steadfast in its resilience, and is even more determined to fight for its well-deserved place in growing the South African economy, says Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda) executive director Michel Basson.

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Steel producer continues to grow manufacturing capacity

Spain-based global stainless-steel producer Acerinox says its global footprint has transformed it into one of the most competitive producers of stainless steels and nickel alloys.

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MARCH 2023

Patel highlights challenges faced by South African manufacturers, notes govt efforts

To boost productivity in South Africa, four key business factors need urgent and significant attention, namely increasing energy security, increasing government spending on infrastructure projects, ensuring compliance with local procurement policies and using South Africa’s competitive advantage to the benefit of local businesses, Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel has said.

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Loadshedding destroying production, growth, jobs in the metals and engineering sector

Companies in the metals and engineering sector have seen production decline by 34.2% over the past year, and production in the sector is estimated to contract by 5.3% this year, industry organisation the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) reports.

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Saisi says benefit of Commission’s collaboration guidelines remains to be seen

Following the Competition Commission publishing Guidelines on Collaboration last year, the South African Iron and Steel Institute (Saisi) has called on the commission to be proactive in reviewing and adjusting the guidelines to ensure this remains an effective intervention to move the local steel sector into economic recovery.

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Stainless steel sector well-positioned to supply African markets, despite loadshedding challenge

The biggest hurdle stainless steel production and fabrication faces to date is loadshedding, with this challenge overriding all previous issues and leading to diminishing staff safety, motivation, productivity and increased living costs, and contributing to a visible decline in apparent consumption during 2022, says industry organisation Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda) executive director Michel Basson.

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Metals, mining industry execs pessimistic about global growth, CRU study finds

More than half (52%) of global commodities business intelligence company CRU’s clients in the metals and mining industries expect global gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by no more than 1% this year, according to its yearly macroeconomic survey of clients, which polled global clients from the metals and mining industries in December.

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Next year holds much of the same headwinds for metals, engineering sector

Leading up to the publication of the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa’s (Seifsa’s) ‘State of the Metals Sector Report 2023’ in February, COO Tafadzwa Chibanguza tells Engineering News inflation is one of the most intense headwinds facing the global economy and likens it to the next economic pandemic facing the world.

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Six-month ban imposed on export of copper scrap as South Africa seeks to combat theft

The South African government has imposed a six-month ban on the export of copper and copper-alloy scrap, as well as most ferrous scrap as part of the first phase of a three-phase intervention designed to combat the rampant theft of metals used in public infrastructure.

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Company supplies innovative products to sector

The prevalence of build projects for new warehouses, distribution centres and other logistics infrastructure has provided local steel supplier Macsteel with opportunities to supply its innovative products for steel construction and cladding projects.


Global steel production for October flat year-on-year

Global crude steel production for the 64 countries reporting to the World Steel Association (worldsteel) was 147.3-million tonnes in October – the same level as reported for October 2021. Africa produced 1.4-million tonnes of steel in October – a 2.3% year-on-year increase.

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Cabinet approves measures to restrict scrap exports, but details yet to be released

Cabinet has approved a “comprehensive package” of policy measures to restrict trade in scrap metal to limit damage to public infrastructure, including the ongoing theft of copper cables, which is said to be costing the economy R46-billion yearly.

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SAICE questions fresh Sanral tender awards as China scores most of the work

The South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) says it is “deeply concerned” by the recent awarding of tenders by the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to joint ventures (JVs) led by foreign companies. 

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Local mill essential to the stainless steel market

The South African stainless steel market is at risk given the pressure on local stainless steel manufacturer Columbus Stainless, says steel merchandiser and distributor Macsteel CEO Mike Benfield.

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Manufacturer now offers new stainless steel braided hose

Earlier this year, industrial hose specialist Truco announced it had started manufacturing stainless steel braided hose at its Chamdor campus in Johannesburg, Gauteng.

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Sector initiating strategies to decarbonise by 2050

To achieve carbon-neutrality by 2050, all sectors are initiating strategies to help reduce their carbon footprint, and this includes the stainless steel sector.

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Global steel industry body expects 2.3% contraction in demand this year

Global industry organisation the World Steel Association (worldsteel) forecasts that steel demand will contract by 2.3% this year to reach 1.80-billion tonnes. It adds that steel demand will, however, recover in 2023, growing by 1% to 1.81-billion tonnes. 

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Steel decarbonisation progressing steadily

Efforts to decarbonise steelmaking include the deployment of new technologies to existing and new steel plants, and changing the format of raw materials, as well as how raw materials are mined, processed and transported.

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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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