ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) has committed to addressing the delays related to restarts and expansion at its Newcastle plant in the country that has exacerbated the already limited steel supply in the country.
The company has encountered delays in commissioning its new N5 blast furnace and restarting new furnaces in Newcastle over the past few months. However, AMSA’s chief executive officer Kobus Verster has promised a budget and plan to address problems and the reliability issues with the site to minimize additional delays through 2021, according to media reports on Monday.
Verster noted that flat steel production had successfully resumed at Vanderbijlpark and that the company had launched blast furnace D in June 2020 followed by blast furnace C in December, with full commissioning by January 2021. Still, per media reports, one of the blast furnaces recently encountered a technical problem resulting in a two-week outage.
The company has been accused by local consumers such as the National Employers Association of South Africa (Neasa) of deliberately not starting the second furnace at Vanderbijlpark on time as well as other delay tactics that are affecting pricing and market dynamics.
The site was operational for two furnaces, but Neasa noted that it was operating only at 50pc capacity for half a year which limited user access to steel and significantly increased prices for buyers.