In this brief conversation, Anglo American Sales Manager Reenen Pretorius talks about his kick-off and career in the metall industry and the increasing importance for companies in the industry to consider evironmental, social, and governance factors in their value chain activities.
Reenen, can you tell us how you got into the metals and mining industry?
I started my working career as a Metallurgist. My first introduction to metals and mining was in 2005 when joining Columbus Stainless, the only stainless-steel Mill in South Africa. With a total steel plant and hot rolling capacity of 600kt per annum, at the time Columbus was the second largest integrated stainless-steel producer in the world, only second to Outokumpu which had a production capacity of 1 million tons at the time.
My love affair with base metals and more specifically chrome and nickel kept me well entrenched in the commodity space. Before joining Anglo American in 2014, I worked for an independent trading company focussing on UG2 chomite and FeCr sales from South Africa.
What are your current responsibilities at AngloAmerican?
I look after Anglo American’s stainless steel raw material sales into Europe, Middle East and Americas.
What products can AngloAmerican supply?
Our current equity product portfolio includes, nickel cathode (RPM brand) both full plate and cut, FeNi from our Barro Alto and Codemin operations in Brazil, UG2 chromite concentrate from South Africa and molybdenum concentrate from Chile. More recently we started expanding our product offering in Europe to include HC & LCFeCr and are looking to further expand into complimentary steel making raw materials.
Anglo is one of the leading global mining companies, what does Anglo do to reduce CO2 emissions and fight climate change?
Against the backdrop of Anglo American’s purpose, re-imagining mining to improve people’s lives, Anglo is committed to being part of the Global response to climate change. Many of the products that Anglo is mining and producing, i.e. copper, nickel and platinum group metals, are key raw materials for the new green economy.
In terms of our own operations, Anglo American has a stated vision of being carbon neutral by 2040 across all our operations Globally. The objective for our FeNi operations in Brazil is to become carbon neutral by 2030.
In your opinion, what does good customer service look like?
The old adage of “the customer is king” still rings true however I believe customer expectations in the commodity space have evolved. Product quality, price, reliability and on time delivery are no longer considered differentiating factors, but rather the minimum requirement to get through the door. As consumer social and environmental awareness increases, the transparency and efficacy of raw material supply chains are becoming more important.
Product provenance, social and governance factors are becoming embedded into supply chains. This in turn necessitates more open and free information flow between producer and consumer. Although price remains an important consideration in final purchase/sale decision, identifying and understanding the broader interests of the buyer are integral in successful sales negotiations.
How do you see the global nickel market? Are we seeing the beginning of a new supercycle?
As a key ingredient in high corrosion resistant steels and super alloys, Nickel is one of very few metals that benefited from decades of robust demand growth. As we move into an era of green energy, Nickel again stand to benefit.
One can argue the technicalities that constitutes a supercylce and how increased demand ultimately shapes supply response but what is clear is that the stage is set, and Nickel is well positioned to play an integral part in new energy evolution.
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