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March 2017
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Sawmilling South Africa News
March has been quite an important month for the sawmilling industry and it all started with a meeting between the DTI and the sawmilling industry facilitated by the association and chaired by Mr. Tafadswa Nynzunda of the DTI. The meeting was convened to discuss and “panel-beat” an official strategy for the sawmilling sector and was attended by a number of leading executives in the industry including the SSA chairman, Mr. Sean Hoatson.

The aim of the strategy is to try and formulate a plan of action for co-operation between government and the organized sawmilling industry and address issues such as dialogue between government departments and industry as well as transformation, resource expansion and the need for research and product development.
One of the positives to come out of this initiative is that our industry has been brought to the attention of Dr. Rob Davies the minister of Trade and Industry who has openly stated the need for the development of the sector as it is an important rural job creator. Included below is a press release from the DTI which appeared in the national press early in March.

DATE:  3 MARCH 2017


We all need to ensure that we nurture the sawmilling sector as its growth has the ability to grow big corporations, create jobs and boost the economy. This was said by Executive Director of Sawmilling South Africa, Mr Roy Southey. He was speaking at a workshop to discuss the development of a strategy for the sawmilling industry that was hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) in Pretoria on Thursday, 02 March 2017.
Southey added that the sawmilling industry can create much needed jobs and benefit previously disadvantaged persons from rural areas.
“We need to respond to the shortage of resources. If unlocked, the potential of this industry can take the development of South Africa forward through job creation. The shrinking of resources in forestry is one major challenge that needs to be addressed by both government and the private sector. The expansion of the forestry, putting better use of the current resources and looking beyond the borders of South Africa can turn around the sector for the better,” he said.
Southey proposed the exploration of eucalyptus as an alternative resource to the industry and cited that it has shorter lead times and rotation cycles positioning it much better than the current resources.
The Director of Forestry Based Industries at the dti, Ms Tafadzwa Nyanzunda said that the department was working with the industry to develop a comprehensive wood processing strategy and various other initiatives that will assist in the recapitalisation of the aging machinery as well as improve productivity in the sector.
“We encourage the industry to take advantage of the dti incentives schemes in a bit to grow the industry and economy. We had a challenge of minimal uptake of the dti’s Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme from the sawmilling industry before. Amongst other things is a targeted sector incentive scheme,” she said.
Nyanzunda highlighted that the importance of the sawmilling industry to the South African economy cannot be over emphasised. Therefore, it was paramount for the industry to continue the work they had started with government of developing the strategy of the sawmilling industry.
Delegates participated in the discussions with the aim of seeing the sector being competitive and growing. Participants agreed that resources in the industry were a challenge and needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency. There was a need for developing strong relations with leading forestry research faculties and institutes, and development of a comprehensive strategy to increase access to export markets as well as promotion of wood culture.
The review of the Wood Foundation Institution to make it more effective, strengthening of research capacity for sawmilling industry elevation of the sawmilling industry to include wood processing and raising funds to assist saw millers invest in newer machinery were some of the issues that delegates agreed to focus their attention on.

All this attention to the sawmilling industry is going a long way to raising the profile and importance of the sector to South Africa and can only mean good for all sawmillers.

That’s about all we have space for this month so until April keep cutting straight and drying flat.

Roy Southey
Executive Director: Sawmilling South Africa
Feature Article
Seeing the Opportunity in Elephant-Damaged Trees – And Seizing it

African big-game hunter, safari guide and outdoorsman, Ron Crous, salvages and transforms priceless African hardwoods with his Norwood sawmill.

Ron Crous
A single person, in a single moment, can change the course of your life. The course of my life’s journey was set when, on my ninth birthday, I listened to one man speak about African wildlife conservation – he was a senior conservation officer from the Cape Point Nature Reserve, on the southern tip of Africa. From that moment forward, I knew that outdoors was where I would spend my life.

My working career started with wildlife management, anti-poaching and game capture and, over the past 30 some years, I have been fortunate to work and hunt in some of the most beautiful areas of Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa. For the past twelve of those years, I have focused primarily on guiding dangerous game hunt safaris. 
But throughout, the trees have been what defined true wilderness beauty in my mind.  Always in awe of how old, large, tall or majestic they were, I planted trees wherever I could (and sometimes where I could not!).  Inquisitive by nature, and about nature, I wanted to watch them grow – to see their development year after year has always given me great satisfaction.
"The course of my life’s journey was set when, on my ninth birthday, I listened to one man speak about African wildlife conservation … From that moment forward, I knew that outdoors was where I would spend my life."
I started cutting fallen trees into planks to see what they looked like; I was amazed by the beauty locked within each log.  Harvesting one particular log took me three years – I had found a massive 20-foot (6m) log washed up on the beach where we have our holiday home on the Indian Ocean. Over the course of three consecutive vacations, I managed to mill the whole thing into planks … using just my chainsaw!  It was quite a saga … but I got them back home.

With the recent closure of trophy hunting in Botswana, I was forced to look for alternative means of providing for my family and this “silly” idea of cutting planks for resale kept popping up. Although there used to be 2 or 3 sawmills around thirty years ago, there is currently no sawmill industry in Botswana. The lack of a sawmilling industry is mainly due to two reasons: the government prohibiting tree harvesting and elephant damage (Botswana is teeming with an over-population of elephants which, in large numbers, wreak havoc on the forest). This, essentially, only leaves fallen timber and crooked timber, both of which are unsuitable for large-scale sawing operations. 
"My major concern was choosing a machine that would be up to the job – These African species are some of the hardest woods on the planet and, what is more, they are mostly long dead and very dry."
But, what a large sawmilling corporation would overlook, I see as real potential. While they may be stunted and crooked, the timber is highly valuable African hardwood, prized for its rich colors and grains. 
After considerable research on how best to maximize the potential of the local fallen and dead timber, I decided on a Norwood LumberMate LM29 band sawmill.  My major concern was choosing a machine that would be up to the job – These African species are some of the hardest woods on the planet and, what is more, they are mostly long dead and very dry. Leadwood (Combretum imberbe), knobthorn (Acacia nigrescens) and mopane (Colophospermum mopane), to name a just few, are all in the vicinity of 70 – 77 lbs/cubic foot (1120 – 1230 kg/m3).

I took the plunge and placed the order for my Norwood at the same time that I accepted a commission to build a 10’ x 4’ (3m x 1.2m) live-edge leadwood table. Wow, I jumped in at the deep end!  But, as long as Norwood could "cut it", I was willing to try.

I knew of a massive old log that had been cut down some years’ ago by Botswana Telecommunications – I had always envied who might manage to do something with that log; it was huge! Out I went with a seriously heavy-duty trailer that we used to use to remove and transport elephant carcasses. By means of chain-blocks, and some serious sweating, we managed to get the beast loaded! Getting it onto the mill was also fraught with hassles as the log, being any and every shape except round, tended to do pretty much as it pleased.  So, as when out on safari, I called on my trusty Land Cruiser to add a little gentle persuasion.  And, voila! … On she rolled.  My lovely new Norwood did the job smartly and soon I was into actually making the table.

[The Norwood] is not simply a toy, but a tool capable of cutting even the hardest wood on earth!

I have got to thank the Dale family and the entire Norwood team for getting a sawmill of this quality out there for the likes of people like myself who want to play – although, it is not simply a toy, but a tool capable of cutting even the hardest wood on earth!

African “Leadwood” is one of the densest hardwoods in the world. Ron moved this back to his sawmill using the same equipment he employs to move elephant carcasses.
A client commissioned Ron to make this live-edge leadwood table
Contact: Norwood Sawmills
National News
Sawmilling sector’s resource shortages need urgent attention
South Africa needs to urgently respond to the resource shortages within the sawmilling sector to unlock the benefits of job creation and growth. The shrinking of resources in forestry was one major challenge that needed to be dealt with by both government and the private sector, said Sawmilling South Africa executive director Roy Southey. read more
Planting restrictions cause timber shortage
The government’s stringent restrictions on the issuing of forestry and planting permits has led to a timber shortage. About 70% of the sawn timber in SA is used for construction purposes. The rest is used in the furniture sector, the joinery sector and the packaging sector, with a little also going into industrial use.
read more
Rooted in Knysna’s history

If entrepreneurial longevity is a measure of success, then Geo Parkes and Sons has stood and even surpassed the test of time. Deeply rooted in the greater Knysna community, synonymous with both its famed natural forests and rich historical heritage, Geo Parkes and Sons this month celebrated a rare legacy of 125 years as one of the country’s oldest family-run timber merchants. read more

Holtec to supply its first tree lengths handling line to Merensky sawmill in South Africa
Holtec to supply its first tree lengths handling line to Merensky Sawmill in Weza, South Africa, as the company says in the press release received by Lesprom Network
. read more
Swaziland to procure 28% power through biomass
Surrounded by South Africa, land-locked Swaziland is looking to develop a 35MW biomass power plant, which will commence operation in three years. read more
Compliant timber roof truss construction essential for sound roof structure
Poorly constructed roofs have become a real concern in residential South Africa. The Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA) offers insight into legislation governing this aspect of a building as well as guidelines for a correctly built, sound timber roof structure
. read more
Nu Water Changes Bleak Water Outlook
There is something that resonates within us whenever we hear a good story. Great stories can inspire people and they often serve as a catalyst for change. And this is exactly what NuWater is doing within the water sectorread more
Made to measure: Roofing at the cutting edge
LCP Roofing, leaders in roof truss technology, are renowned for their precision work, attention to detail and commitment to delivering world-class workmanship.
Between a humble section of timber and an elegantly finished timber roof truss is a manufacturing process that has been fine-tuned and perfected over years.
read more
Helping NFC gain "more competitive edge"
Dolphin Bay recently carried out a six-day upgrade to a treatment vessel for New Forest Company Uganda (NFCU), enabling the company to supply the growing demand for 14-metre poles.

read more
International News
Largest Sawmill in Southern Hemisphere opened
The worlds most advanced sawmill and the first ‘super-mill’ in the Southern Hemisphere was opened by New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Bill English, in Rotorua on Thursday. A ‘super-mill’ is a sawmill that processes over one million tonnes of logs per year.
read more
Tokyo biomass pellets summit to gather over 200 buyers and sellers
To be held in Tokyo on 15-18 May, the 8th edition of renowned Biomass Pellets Trade & Power summit promises latest updates on North Asia's biomass capacities, raw material imports, feedstock price trends and stiff competition. read more
Residues represents almost 50 per cent of fiber consumed by wood pellet plants in US South
There has been a clear shift in fiber-sourcing for pellet manufacturers in the US South from logs to residues. Almost 50% of the fiber feedstock for wood pellet plants in the US South was industry and forest residues in the 1Q17, up from 33% five years ago. read more
Kauri disappearing
Lawmakers have called for a ban on the “mining” of an ancient New Zealand timber resource after a government report showed that half of it might have already disappeared
. read more
Using nature's own solvents for the preparation of pure lignin
Lignin can now be efficiently and cost-effectively separated from sawdust, by using eutectic solvents. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed solvents using which 50% of the lignin from wood can be extracted in a pure form that retains its natural chemical structure during processing.
 read more
Wood pellet energy snubbed here goes to Japan
While the federal government ponders subsidies to “clean up” coal, one Australian firm plans to spend $130 million to export a cleaner coal solution to Japan, after being snubbed domestically. 
read more
US sawmills increased their softwood lumber output y-o-y

U.S. softwood sawmills increased production by 3.4% in 2016 to 32.722 billion board ft. (bbf), up from a full-year total of 31.643 bbf in 2015. Of the 2016 total, Western U.S. sawmills accounted for 13.884 bbf, an increase of 2.6% from 13.531 bbf in 2015, while sawmills in the South contributed 17.342 bbf – up 4.1% from 16.661 bbf, according to data released on March 8 by the Western Wood Products Assn. (WWPA) of Portland, Oregon. read more

US lumber prices soar, creating huge uncertainties
The U.S. lumber markets are already seeing some major price volatility, where W-SPF lumber prices soared by a whopping 25% (US$78/Mbf) in the three-week period between January 27 and February 17, 2017 and up US$83/Mbf over the previous five-week period. read more
NZ roundwood log prices jump to a record
Strong domestic building activity combined with buoyant horticulture and viticulture industries has pushed up the price of roundwood logs to a record. The average price for roundwood logs rose to $90 a tonne in February, up $5 from January's average price and at the highest level since AgriHQ began collecting the data in early 2002.
 read more
New & Used Equipment
Buyer (HRL15/S8) Sappi Southern Africa
Foreman: Mechanical (S8 / HRL15) Sappi Southern Africa
Foreman - Mpumalanga White River Sawmills
Dry Mill Manager - Mpumalanga - White River Sawmills
Last Laugh

This one is for the ladies.
Cows are living proof that eating grass, drinking water and walking do nothing for weight loss.
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SSA · Forest Lodge, Sedgefield · Knysna, Western Cape 6573 · South Africa

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