ArcelorMittal South Africa’s (AMSA) restarted blast furnace C will support increased flat steel production levels in Q1 2021.
The company, which reported its 2020 and Q4 earnings this week indicated that it plans to increase its plant utilization to 80pc on flat steel against a 49pc plant utilization in 2020 excluding Saldanha Works, and 67pc in 2019.
The company said it has additional capacity available if required and that the third basic oxygen furnace and direct reduced iron (DRI) plants started in 2020 could provide operational reliability and improve costs. Production of thin gauge material at Vanderbijlpark Works is also planned during the year.
In the long steel segment, the company has projected its plant utilization to increase to 58pc in Q1 2021 from 33pc in 2020 and 66pc in 2019. The site will focus on the Newcastle blast furnace’s refurbishment and reengineering the electric arc furnace to continue operations.
In 2020, AMSA’s total steel production fell by 48pc to 2.3mn mt compared to the previous year. Sales volumes declined in tandem by 47pc to 2.2mn mt in 2020 against 2019. Of the total sales, domestic volumes declined by 37pc to 1.9mn mt, and exports tumbled by 72pc to 318,000mt.
Through 2020, AMSA encountered a 5pc reduction in overall realized dollar steel price. The coke segment’s commercial market production declined by 48pc to 282,000mt in 2020 compared to the previous year.
The steelmaker’s revenue dropped by 40pc to ZAR24.6bn ($1.7bn) in 2020 against the previous year and it recorded a net loss of $124mn compared to a loss of $226mn in the same period. Flat steel hit an EBITDA of ZAR414mn as long steel lost ZAR683mn.
South Africa encountered a real GDP reduction of about 8pc in 2020, which resulted in a 20pc fall in apparent steel consumption to 3.7mn mt against the previous year. In 2020, steel imports increased by 4pc to 937,000mt against 899,000mt in the prior year. Imports were dominated by flat steel at 88pc as about 50pc of the imports qualities are not manufactured locally and the remaining 12 pc longs, which 70pc of the type imported is not manufactured locally.