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Kumba steels itself as double whammies come knocking


Kumba steels itself as double whammies come knocking

Failure of the Saldanha steel mill comes while the global market is beset by uncertainty in China

Allan Seccombe

The timing for Kumba Iron Ore (https://www.sharenet.co.za/v3/quickshare.php?scode=KIO) could hardly be worse. Its only client in SA, ArcelorMittal SA (https://www.sharenet.co.za/v3/quickshare.php?scode=ACL), has stopped its Saldanha steel mill and is considering alternative ore sources for its other plants.

For Africa’s largest iron ore producer, the difficulties at ArcelorMittal come when the global market for the key steel ingredient is beset by uncertainty caused by the coronavirus in China. China is the world’s largest steelmaker and developments there affect all iron ore miners.

Kumba expects the consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak to be muted, certainly on its business, which offers a premium product called lumpy ore – fist-sized chunks of iron-bearing rock. While transport of iron ore and steel products by road is restricted in China, most steel mills are still working, building up stockpiles. ..

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