As a specialist hot rolled sheet and steel plate merchant, with over 10 years industry experience, we pride ourselves in remaining at the forefront of the industry. This includes continually trying to find ways of further enhancing our efficiency and overall offering, as well as ongoing industry research and development. This interesting read provides an overview into one of the most overlooked sectors, and that is the scrap metal sector of steel merchants. You will find that this sector is so much larger than one might ever imagine – leaving us to consider how substantial the whole steel industry in SA actually is!

The scrap metal industry in South Africa makes up a small, but valuable part of our economy. With “scrap metal or steel merchants” offering to buy scrap off whoever brings it in, it thus forms an important part of South Africa’s formal and informal business sector, employing around 15 000 and 40 000 people respectively. This article will take a closer look at some of the benefits and shortfalls of being involved in the scrap metal industry in South Africa.

Firstly, scrap metal can be broken down into two categories namely ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Non-ferrous metals make up any metal that does not contain iron, for instance copper. While ferrous refers to any metal that contains iron, such as steel. Most scrap metal / steel merchants will accept both types of metal; however, merchants are required to record all of the seller’s details in order to curb cable theft.

Arguably, the greatest threat facing scrap metal and steel merchants in South Africa is theft. Items such as copper cables as well as manhole covers are often stolen by criminals, who then attempt to sell the stolen metals to scrap metal and steel merchants. Most merchants, however, are able to spot stolen metal or cable very easily, and duly inform the relevant authorities.

Another recent development involving limitations with regards to the export of scrap metal has also had an effect on the industry. From 16 September 2013, scrap metal and steel merchants will not be allowed to export any ferrous or non-ferrous metal internationally without offering it to domestic users first, at a greatly reduced price. Nevertheless, this bill may still be an area of contention for a while, with many merchants not being happy at all with its implications.

Despite all of the challenges facing scrap metal / steel merchants in South Africa, the industry is still estimated to be valued at roughly between fifteen and twenty billion annually, with up to three million tonnes of scrap metal being recycled every year! With numbers like these it is little wonder the scrap metal industry in South Africa is booming at the moment.

For more information on high quality steel from beams, to plats, angles and much more feel free to contact Genesis Steel – specialist steel merchants – today!