Aug 17, 2012
Profound interest in Moz resources benefits steel construction industryBack
Construction|Engineering|Expertise|Africa|CoAL|Cosira Group|Industrial|Mining|PROJECT|Projects|Resources|Sustainable|System|Africa|Europe|China|Mozambique|South Africa|Southern African Institute Of Steel Construc|Energy|Equipment|Local And Foreign Steel Fabricators|Local Steel Fabricator|Oil And Gas|Oil And Gas Sectors|Steel|Steel Construction Industry|Steel Fabricator|Steel Fabricators|Steel Fabricators Industry|Francis Braz|Hennie De Clercq|Infrastructure|Neels Van Niekerk|Tim Tasioulas|Operations|Proximity|Sub-Saharan Africa
© Reuse this
He tells Engineering News that the number of South African and international companies that attended this year’s Mozambique Mining and Energy Conference (MMEC), in April, was significant.
“The MMEC is the premier event that focuses on the Mozambique mining, energy and oil and gas sectors, as well as their sustainable development,” he says. “This year, it attracted a plethora of international investors, mining experts and, of course, steel fabricators, includ- ing many South African companies, whose proven expertise in these areas is sought after.”
Local steel fabricator and construction company Cosira Group is one of the many companies showing interest in opportunities in Mozambique. Cosira Mozambique MD Francis Braz says the company is making significant progress, despite the presence of Chinese companies – Mozambique’s usual partners in infrastructure development.
While China’s trade with Mozambique has reportedly increased by 800% over the last decade, Braz states that Cosira delivered more than 10 000 t of steel to the Moatize coal project, in Mozambique, in 2011 alone.
Braz credits the ISF with the company’s success in Mozambique, as the industry body helped to establish opportunities for Cosira and other South African companies, not only in Mozambique but also worldwide.
Specialist steel fabricator Tass Engineering MD Tim Tasioulas agrees, saying that the ISF’s contribution has been significant, attributing its success in the South African steel fabricators industry to good networking.
“This has been especially helpful in Mozambique, where [Tass Engineering] benefited from the MMEC – facilitated by the ISF – by meeting a host of potential clients,” he says, adding that he is impressed by potential opportunities in Mozambique. Further, he notes that Tass Engineering is pursuing some interesting business leads in the country.
A Secure Investment
“[South Africa] has a long tradition of doing work in Mozambique. We have a better under- standing of the country’s legal system, and relationships are more clear cut,” he says.
De Clercq cites the newly discovered abundance of coking coal and other resources as the sources of investment interest in the Southern Africa country. He points out that the subsequent need to build infrastructure around these resource sites is one of the major attractions for the steel construction industry.
“It must be understood, however, that structural steel is just an element [of infrastructure]. As a steel industry, we have an even greater interest in industrial development than in infrastructural development – not that there isn’t a significant interest there as well,” he notes.
De Clercq adds that the current infrastructure in Mozambique is quite weak, and until it has been developed and the capacity has been increased, inadequate infrastructure will hamper the development of mining operations in the country.
This bodes well for the steel construction industry because initial construction has to take place before mining projects can be developed.
De Clercq points out, however, that steel construction is not the only industry with an interest in Mozambique, or any other country in sub-Saharan Africa.
The economic downturn and subsequent slowdown have forced European companies to consider opportunities outside Europe, with Africa designated as the target area, he says.
“Thanks to subsidies from home, these companies tend to come into the market quite competitively and then, of course, there is China.”
Owing to this increased competition, De Clercq emphasises the necessity of simply being present in Mozambique and the importance of increasing competitiveness through active marketing.
He also highlights the importance of encouraging South African civil engineering companies to establish a greater presence in the rest of Africa and to be more dynamic.
“If this happens, the steel construction industry, including capital equipment suppliers, among others, can come into those projects on the coat tails of the civil engineering contractors,” he says.
De Clercq highlights the industry boom in 2007 and 2008, when there was a tremendous demand for steel construction and the industry was fully occupied.
“Since then, demand has shrunk signifi- cantly because of the global and local economic slowdown, and the industry’s capacity is not even nearly fully used,” he says.
“Even under normal conditions, our industry needs to expand its markets and exports constitute the obvious opportunity. Exporting fabricated steelwork is a strategic imperative for the industry.
“Our industry needs to be active in exports on a consistent basis and certainly not just during those times when local demand is down.”
Van Niekerk agrees and says that the African situation is enticing for South African exporters. “New coal mining opportunities in countries like Mozambique are booming and the discovery, as well as capacity confirmation of new offshore gasfields around all the other Southern African countries, signal the start of a great new Southern African industry.”
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Infrastructure News
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
This Week's Magazine
The World Bank, the European Union, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the government of Sweden have agreed to provide Zimbabwe and Zambia with $294-million for the repair of structural deformations on the Kariba dam wall and avert the possible collapse of the...
Executive chairperson of the Global Electricity Initiative (GEI) Philippe Joubert says energy utilities globally, together with the business community more generally, have come to terms with the science of climate change, particularly as extreme weather events begin...
JSE-listed Emira Property Fund reported distribution growth per participatory interest (PI) of 9% for the six months ended December 31, 2014.
Sub-Saharan Africa is still faced with the challenge of providing citizens access to electricity and an additional $450-billion will need to be invested to ensure that people in urban areas have access to electricity by 2040.
Consulting Engineers South Africa (Cesa) last month said it was dismayed that the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) was seconding 35 Cuban engineers on a two-year contract to share their expertise with South African engineers in the water sector.