Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium (EHS), South Africa's second-largest steel producer, on Friday (13 January 2012) reported a 7% decline in its hot metal production to 193,201 tons for the three months ended December 2011 compared to the corresponding quarter in 2010. However production was 67% higher than the 115,789 tons produced in the quarter ended September 2011.
Production of continuously cast blocks amounted to 185,200 tons, up 56% on the September quarter, but 10% lower than the production for the December 2010 quarter.
Fourth-quarter production of sections, at 60,787 tons, was 52% higher than the September quarter and 30% higher than the December 2010 quarter.
Production of plates at 31,296 tons was 30% lower than the third quarter's 44,913 tons, and 40% lower than the December 2010 quarter production of 52,592 tons.
Coil production surged 277% to 37,410 tons in the fourth quarter of 2011 from the third quarter, and was 100% higher than a year ago.
Vandium slag production was up 25% at 3.574 million kilograms from the third quarter's 2.860 million kilograms, but 25% lower than the 4.736 million kilograms produced in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Ferrovandium production was 20% lower at 1.430 million kilograms compared with the third quarter, but 16% higher than the December 2010 quarter.
The company said total steel prices at $822/ton were down 7% from the third quarter's $880/ton, but 24% higher than the $663/ton achieved in Q4 2010.
Vanadium slag prices averaged $5/kg, unchanged from the previous quarter, while ferrovanadium averaged $25/kg during the quarter, down from $27/kg for the third quarter and $28/kg a year ago.
The company said production of hot metal and steel products increased during Q4 in comparison to Q3 mainly due to the completion of the Furnace 7 conversion and the low production base in Q3 due to a maintenance shutdown and the SEIFSA contractor strike action.
The lower plate production was due to weak demand and higher coil sale opportunities were utilised.
Vanadium slag increased by a lower increment in comparison to hot metal production, mainly due to lower vanadium recoveries.
Fines ore production was reduced due to lower orders received, while lower ferrovanadium production in Q4 was also due to lower orders received and the closure over the festive season.
The selling prices decreased due to the weaker rand, the company said.