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Capabilities of local industry rewarded

RECOGNISING INNOVATION The Steel featured more categories - including automotive, agri-industrial, mining, residential and others – and also added categories for Regional Winners

INDUSTRY PLATFORM Category winners and runners-up projects have shown that the South African steel industry can compete globally

25th November 2022

By: Cameron Mackay

Creamer Media Senior Online Writer


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The 2022 Steel Awards – presented by industry body the Southern African Institute for Steel Construction (SAISC) last month – honoured the capabilities of the local steel construction industry.

“Category winners and runners-up projects have shown once again that the South African steel industry can compete globally. We have a plethora of local companies that carry out complex and highly demanding projects in collaboration with other local players, as well as in coordination with global companies in consortiums featuring multiple partners,” enthuses SAISC CEO Amanuel Gebremeskel.

The event – the first in-person Steel Awards held since 2019 – featured more categories, including automotive, agri-industrial, mining, residential, sporting facilities and community enrichment, this year and, consequently, more winning entries.

Regional winners were also added this year.

Gebremeskel states more categories were introduced to encourage a broader spectrum of entrants and cater to diverse role-players in the steel construction industry.

Existing categories include architectural, light-steel-frame buildings, industrial, roofing and metal cladding, commercial, tubular, factory and warehouse, and bridges.

Gebremeskel adds that SAISC made an effort to reach out to architects to participate, resulting in more architects having submitted projects this year than previously.

Mining, Project Opportunities

The overall winner of the Awards and also the winner of the Mining category was the Benguela General Treatment Plant mining facility. This facility is aboard the Benguela Gem, an advanced diamond recovery vessel.

The Benguela Gem is owned by Debmarine Namibia, a 50:50 joint venture between diamond miner De Beers Group and the Namibian government.

Gebremeskel states that the vessel, built for De Beers Marine operations, is unique to Africa, as it can carry out the entire undersea diamond dredging and treatment process.

In terms of the importance of mining for the steel construction and cladding industry, White says mining will always involve cladding, “albeit at a basic level”.

Gebremeskel adds that many local mining industry companies active in the steel sector are subcontractors to larger global companies, and that significant sales and marketing efforts are needed for local companies.

“The long-term challenge is for our local companies to make themselves more visible to global mining countries such as Canada, Australia and the US. “I see a role for the SAISC to play with regard to the industry-level, international marketing required. This is similar in oil and gas industries, with many local players also being subcontractors.”

There are many mining-related project opportunities for the steel sector, including “pockets of success” owing to supply chain breakdowns in a post-Covid world, he comments.

Local companies have been successful in the pan-African mining sector because if suppliers cannot be sourced from outside Africa, there are opportunities for local players which are closer geographically and logistically to service and supply pan-African projects, Gebremeskel points out.

Southern African Metal Cladding and Roofing Association (SAMCRA) executive director Dennis White also stresses opportunities for local steel companies working in the mining industry are available in the African Continental Free Trade Area. This is owing to South Africa exporting, as well as importing from other African countries, which benefit from government funding.

Cladding Advances

Gebremeskel was excited to see architects using cladding in different ways, which were highlighted during the Steel Awards.

This includes a significant amount of cladding being used in the design and construction of large warehouses, a trend that has been “evident for five to six years”.

“Our SAISC 2022 Steel Awards showcased a number of uses of cladding across different categories, including homes, offices and warehouses. “A warehouse which used metal cladding even won the Popular Choice vote. “Owing to the clever use of the cladding, this building did not require any artificial heating or cooling.”

Edited by Zandile Mavuso
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Features




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