Three Port Elizabeth-based businessmen have established the first wholly black-owned steel melting facility in the province.
Brothers Hassan and Sharaz Khan, together with Dhiroshan Moodley, have partnered with one of the biggest steel manufacturers in India to set up AGNI Steel SA and are in the process of building a R400m steel plant in Zone6 of the Coega Industrial Development Zone, Port Elizabeth.
Coega spokesperson Ayanda Vilakazi said the plant was set to have a positive impact on the Nelson Mandela Bay and Eastern Cape as a whole.
“Eight hundred jobs will be created once the plant is fully operational and all phases completed, and there will also be downstream benefits for the local industry,” said Vilakazi.
AGNI Steel identified the need for a local steel producer in light of the amount of scrap which was being shipped out of South Africa for processing before being brought back into the country.
“What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve,” said a delighted Hassan Khan.
Khan said the project was a joint venture between AGNI Steel (India) and a local Nelson Mandela Bay BEE consortium with the Industrial Development Corporation having a 10% stake and a further 10% being reserved for a workers’ trust.
The project will be implemented in three phases over a five-year period and the plant will be operational within 9-12 months, with the steel billets produced being exported to India and African countries during the first phase of the project.
“Once all three phases are completed, AGNI Steel SA will, using modern drilling mill technology, convert the steel billets into reinforced steel for local consumption and export into Africa,” Vilakazi said.
AGNI Steel (India) is one of the leading secondary steel manufacturers in the south of India and has built an excellent reputation for the quality of their steel products under the brand name AGNI TMT in that region.
The AGNI Steel plant at Coega will use 10000 tons of scrap metal a month during the first phase and this will double to 20000 tons in the second phase,” said Vilakazi.
Programmes in terms of which local employees would be taken to India for training are being considered.
AGNI Steel SA will be the first mini steel melting unit to be commissioned in the industrial history of the Eastern Cape.
“The need to give direct equity to the workers is to enhance their sense of responsibility. The harder we all work, the more we benefit,” said Hassan Khan.