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Newsletter: June 2015
Sawmilling SA
Sawmilling South Africa News
SSA holds 8th AGM: Executive elected

June has been another busy month for the folks at SSA, especially as it saw the holding of the 8th annual general meeting (AGM) of the association.

The AGM was attended by 32 sawmillers from all corners of the country that came together to listen to and to discuss the issues affecting the industry. In his address to the meeting, the Chairman, Mr Sean Hoatson, explained that one should not get caught up in all the negative rhetoric that often goes about in the press and that one should rather look deeper into exactly what is going on in the economy. He felt that if South Africans were to concentrate on the job at hand and ignore all the noise, they would find that there is indeed real growth and that especially in our sector where we are driven by building and construction activity that things were in fact improving. This seems to be borne out by the fact that most millers are reporting better and stronger sales than at the same time last year.

Other business discussed at the meeting was the progress with the Espacement Project currently being run by Dr Wessels of the University of Stellenbosch. He reported on the progress and we certainly look forward to the end of the year at which time the results of the last three years of research will be made available to the industry. You will recall that the purpose of the project is to investigate as to whether closer planting espacement regimes will improve the properties of the lumber yield.

The Executive for the 2015/16 year was also elected and is made up of representatives from sawmills from almost all the regions of SA of. The committee is:


Mr Sean Hoatson

Mr Sean Hoatson

Mr Duncan Mackay
Mr Karl-Heinz Niemand
Mr Manny Ferreirinha
Mr Tewie Giliomee
Mr Craig Rance

All attendees wished Mr John Urban a restful time as he announced his retirement at the meeting. John has been involved in the sawmilling industry for the past 50 years and has been a loyal supporter of the organised industry for as long as anyone can remember, serving on the SALMA executive in the earlier days and of course SSA more recently. John’s calm wisdom and vast experience will be sorely missed. He has finally decided to join his two sons in their business in New Zealand. One wonders if it will be much of a retirement as no doubt he will get just as involved as he has been in sawmilling in South Africa. Just so long as you keep shouting for the Springboks, John!

Roy Southey
Executive Director: Sawmilling South Africa

National news
Minister Molewa and Tshwane Executive Mayor Ramokgopa visit eco-furniture factory in Ga-Rankuwa, Pretoria


The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa and the Executive Mayor of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, Cllr Kgosientso Sputla Ramokgopa on 26 June 2015, participated in a site visit at an Eco - Furniture Factory in Ga-Rankuwa, Pretoria.


Use burnt trees according to their potential, says wood scientist


From an economic and safety viewpoint it makes sense to first determine the degree to which wood has been degraded during a plantation fire, before deciding what to do with it. While not all pine trees that have survived such wildfires should still be used to make roof trusses, they could be used to make furniture, flooring, fencing, pulp or as fire wood.


Africa Timberland Investment Conference to be held in Durban


The Africa Timberland Investment Conference will be held in Durban on 2 and 3 September 2015 and is organised by DANA. This Conference will be the premier Timberland/Agriland Investment Conference in Africa for 2015. Two days of international, African and South African speakers and panelists will complete the line-up, together with a spectacular optional two day field trip opportunity.


International news
Firm to set up sawmill in Kabompo


About K700 000 has been set aside by Induna Investment Limited to harvest and process hardwood timber in Kabompo. The company has since applied for a large-scale forestry concession licence to harvest Rosewood, Mupapa, Mukwa and Swartzia madagasscariensis. According to the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report submitted to the Zambia Environmental Management Agency by Induna Investment and obtained by Daily Mail, the proposed logging and sawmilling activities will be done in Nkulwashi, Watopa, Lihemeno and Mutoma open forestry areas covering 7 000 hectares.


Zimbabwe: timber industry under threat, says executive


Zimbabwe could be harvesting timber faster than it is replenishing the plantations, raising fears that the country could soon run out of supply, an industry executive has said. Rutima Holdings, the parent company of Maswera Timbers, managing director, Chester Mhende, said it might not be long before the country starts running short of supplies. "I fear that the industry is under threat, what I see is that we are not growing as many trees as we are felling. My feeling is that we are not very far from a point where we will not be able to harvest. This statement is sponsored by the view that the bulk of our timber is being used for construction and construction timber is harvested at around 17 years and above," Mhende said.


Research leads to 'massive' timber plant


A Scottish construction firm is investing £4.2m in a ‘massive’ timber production plant following university research. Lanarkshire-based construction firm CCG has bought a new 122 000 sq ft plant to make cross laminated timber (CLT). More commonly known as ‘massive’ timber, it is an exceptionally strong building material which can be used in commercial and residential structures.


Mills cutting back on production to match slow demand in Central and West Africa


Log and sawnwood prices are unchanged from those reported at the end of May 2015 as demand western international markets is very slow. Sawmills in the region are reported to be either cutting back on production or temporarily ceasing operations in an effort to match output with current levels of demand.


Demand for Kentucky bourbon pushes timber market to its limits


With the demand for bourbon comes the demand for timber and the future of the White Oak used barrel making isn't so cut and dry. Every batch of bourbon must be aged in a brand new barrel made of virgin White Oak and with bourbon quickly taking over the spirit world, the timber industry is struggling to keep up.


Wood and metal hold key to global economy


Two property sectors, a world apart; two materials, wood and metal, may hold the key to the global economy. Consumers are the dominant force in the US economy and they like a sturdy housing market. April existing home sales released on 21 May 2015 will complete the week’s trio of housing-related data. Hopefully they will dovetail with the recent report that showed homebuilding jumped 20 percent compared with March, as the sector emerged from a winter weather-induced slowdown.


Recovering US housing to boost BC lumber sales


According to industry analyst, Hakan Ekstrom, Canadian softwood lumber prices have fallen substantially in the past nine months but the decline should end soon. The president of Seattle-based Wood Resources International said early signs of a resurgent US housing market should boost the demand for Canadian wood. “We probably reached the bottom on prices two weeks ago and can expect them to start moving up now,” he stated.


Lumber prices have fallen sharply in key markets around the world


Lumber prices have fallen throughout a majority of the main softwood lumber markets in the world during the 1Q/15. Lower demand and a strengthening US dollar have sent lumber prices plummeting to their lowest levels in more than two years in North America and Europe, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. The biggest declines have occurred in the US, Canada and the Nordic countries, while the drop in import prices to China and Japan has been more modest. Import prices to Japan and China have followed a similar trend, although the decline has been less dramatic.


WWF challenges UK-based companies to ensure all timber is legally sourced


Companies must do more to check the wood they use is legally sourced, says conservation organisation World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). A WWF study focused on products not covered by the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), which requires companies to ensure the wood their products are made from, comes from a legal source. It claimed some companies are selling products in the UK made from types of wood that the WWF considers are at a high risk of coming from illegally logged forests.


Equipment update


  Winderman KLB Ngodwana Mill
  Laboratory Assistant Ngodwana Mill
  Cattleman Ngodwana Mill
  Checker Chemical Plant Ngodwana Mill
  Bale Line Assistant #3 Uptake Ngodwana Mill
  Electrician Shifts Ngodwana Mill
  Checker: Energy Ngodwana Mill
  Production Foreman PM6 Enstra Mill
  Laboratory Technician Ngodwana Mill
Upcoming events
Working together to build the Western Cape’s future


The Cape Construction Expo will be held 12 to 13 August at the Cape Town International Conference Centre in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Expo claims to be the one and only opportunity to meet the entire Western Cape building and construction industry. With over 100 exhibitors, more than 150 conference delegates, 3 000 attendees, a free workshop programme and over 20 hours of networking, the Cape Construction Expo is the best knowledge and networking platform for Western Cape construction professionals such as architects, designers, engineers, building contractors, commercial and residential property owners and developers, surveyors, cost consultants, project managers, suppliers, service providers, government representatives and investors. This is your show if you are a working in the Cape's construction.


On-line business directory

FREE listing in the Sawmill Directory for all sawmills.

Sawmill Directory – We would like to thank the following Sawmills for listing in the FREE Sawmill Directory:

1. Guy Payn Sawmills (Pty) Ltd

2. Surejoy Industries (Pty) Ltd

"Take advantage of listing in the Sawmill Directory and get direct quote requests for your timber products"

For FREE registration please contact Bronwyn Hayes on +27 (0)82 333 3112 or email
Smile: it's free!

A little old lady was walking down the street dragging two large plastic garbage bags behind her.
One of the bags was ripped and every once in a while, a $20 bill fell out onto the sidewalk.
Noticing this, a policeman stopped her and said, "Ma'am, there are $20 bills falling out of that bag."

"Oh, really? Darn it!" said the little old lady. "I'd better go back and see if I can find them.
Thanks for telling me, Officer."

"Well, now, not so fast," said the cop, "Where did you get all that money? You didn't steal it, did you?"
"Oh, no, no", said the old lady, "You see, my back yard is right next to a golf course. A lot of golfers come and pee through a knot hole in my fence, right into my flower garden.
It used to really tick me off. Kills the flowers, you know.

Then I thought, 'why not make the best of it?' So, now, I stand behind the fence by the knothole, real quiet like, with my hedge clippers. Every time some guy sticks his thingy through my fence, I surprise him, grab hold of it and say, 'OK, buddy! Give me $20 or off it comes!'”

"Well, that seems only fair," said the cop, laughing.
"OK. Good luck! Oh, by the way, what's in the other bag?"

"Not everybody pays."

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