VAAL TRIANGLE - ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) is restarting the second blast furnace at its Vanderbijlpark operations in January 2021 in response to an increase in demand for steel in South Africa. AMSA spokesperson, Tami Didiza, said in a statement yesterday that the company initially decided to idle the Blast Furnace C at Vanderbijlpark and the Vereeniging Electric Arc Furnace in July until demand recovered. However, she said steel demand had increased quicker than expected due to lockdown-affected construction projects now being completed, increased sales at retail outlets and running at lower stock levels prior to the nationwide lockdown. Didiza said the decision to restart the second blast furnace at its Vanderbijlpark site in January 2021 will add around 600 000 tonnes of additional annual flat steel production volume, the minimum that can be added through the restart of the additional furnace. Chief Executive Officer of ArcelorMittal South Africa, Kobus Verster, says the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the South African economy on top of already flagging growth prior to the lockdown. Verster said now more than ever they need to take decisive steps to protect the national economy and ensure that South Africa can be put on a sustainable path of growth and development.