Africa’s largest steel producer ArcelorMittal South Africa in its 2020 integrated annual report said that it is committed to addressing the steel shortages in South Africa.
CEO Kobus Verster said “The group has experienced considerable delays with starting the N5 blast furnace in Newcastle. N5 setbacks are frustrating particularly because of the group’s intense focus on addressing customers steel shortages that had been building up since before Covid-19. In the New Year we have budgeted and planned to fix the problems caused by the unusual post-pandemic start-up of N5 and to improve its reliability. Our customers and their needs will be front and centre as we explore our opportunities to grow. We can only grow when our customers grow and, while we regret the restrictions placed on their growth by post-lockdown shortages, I can assure them that in 2021, we will spare no effort to progress on our seamless, on-time supply.”
Production of flat steel at Vanderbijlpark was resumed from blast furnace D in June and blast furnace C in December
ArcelorMittal South Africa has been under fire for the critical steel shortages in South Africa. National Employers Association of South Africa recently said that the shortage is a direct result of Amsa’s deliberate decision not to start the second furnace at Vanderbijlpark following the first hard lockdown last year.
Neasa said Amsa had two blast furnaces at its Vanderbijlpark works and when they operated only one of them, by necessary implication, they only operated at 50% capacity, which was not sufficient to supply the South African market and the unavailability of steel sent prices skyrocketing for the now desperate steel manufacturing industry.