ArcelorMittal South Africa is supplying China’s Sinohydro Corporation, with reinforcing bar from its Newcastle plant RSA for a number of hydro-electrical projects across Zambia.

More than 120kt of rebar will be shipped to Zambia over the next five to seven years.

ArcelorMittal is currently supplying products to the Kariba North Bank, situated at the Kariba Dam, the Ithetzi Thetzi Dam as well as transmission tower base structures from Kariba for the power distribution grid. The process of supplying steel to these projects included setting up transport solutions to the project sites in Zambia and managing the unique credit risks that exist.
Gert Dercksen, ArcelorMittal South Africa sales manager, exports, explains: “Critical to the success of the project is the supply of the correct sizes and quality of steel, at the right time to prevent any delays, as this would be disastrous for the overall progress of the project.”

Beijing-based Sinohydro is regarded as one of the top hydro-electric construction companies in the world and has identified Zambia as a key growth area thanks to the country’s rich water resources. ArcelorMittal’s long term strategy is to supply steel for future hydro-electricity projects at Kafue Gorge in Zambia, Kariba South Bank in Zimbabwe and Kabompo in the North West of Zambia, starting in 2014. The company also plans to expand its presence into other African overland countries including Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia.

ArcelorMittal South Africa’s involvement in these hydro electrical projects in Zambia was established initially through a market research project in mid-2010 and is part of the company’s overall Africa overland growth strategy. As a land-locked country but with relative ease of access by road from South Africa, Zambia is an ideal location for ArcelorMittal South Africa to expand its product offering into the country. At present, the copper rich areas in the north receive all their power needs from the Kariba dam which is jointly shared with Zimbabwe.