Trade union Solidarity has welcomed the agreement that ArcelorMittal SA has reached with Evraz Highveld Steel, which it says will be positive for the Witbank community.
Solidarity deputy general secretary for the steel and engineering industry Marius Croucamp said on Friday the agreement would be a positive development for the local community, as well as for the economy as a whole.
"Earlier this year, this community was affected by mass retrenchments involving 1,753 employees," he noted.
In terms of the agreement announced on Thursday, ArcelorMittal has agreed to supply blooms and slabs to a subsidiary of Evraz Highveld Steel, which is in business rescue, for processing into heavy structural steel.
ArcelorMittal said the agreement was conditional on levying protective duties on the products manufactured in the mill, which required finalising an application to the International Trade Administration Commission.
The agreement would hold for two years at first, with an option to extend it for a year, and the mill should restart next year.
ArcelorMittal has an option to purchase the Highveld Structural Mill subject to certain regulatory and governance approvals, it said.