SA Metal Group

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SA Metal workers circa 1960

SA Metal Group is South Africa’s oldest and one of its largest metal recycling companies.[1] Founded by Wolfe Barnett (1886-1946) in 1919 it has remained a family business into the fourth generation.

The company operates from over ten sites around South Africa collecting and processing scrap metals.[2][3] It purchases scrap metals from factories, other industrial companies, dealers[4] and collectors. Hundreds of thousands of people in South Africa make a living collecting and delivering scrap metal to companies like SA Metal Group.

Recycled steel scrap is melted down in electric induction furnaces before being converted into steel products

The company also undertakes heavy demolition and rehabilitation work on the many mines in South Africa which have closed down and must be safely restored to the original condition of the environment.[5] Scrap metals recovered from such demolition are also sent to the company’s processing yards.[6]

Processed scrap metal[7] is delivered to steel mills and foundries or exported if there is insufficient local demand.

The company also operates its own steel mill in Cape Town manufacturing high-specification steel reinforcing bar for the local construction industry.[8]

In 1970, the restored body of a World War II Spitfire aircraft was mounted at the company’s Salt River, Cape Town premises where it became a world-famous landmark. In 1988, the Spitfire had to be removed due to deterioration from nearby railway shunting yards and vandals taking shots at it. It was shipped to the UK and sold to a restorer.

The South African government has recently introduced regulations governing the export of scrap metal. It remains to be seen how this will impact on the industry in South Africa.[9]

Shredded steel scrap being processed at an SA Metal yard


  1. ^ Writer, Staff. "Ban on Cash Payments". Cape Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  2. ^ Muller, Leon (7 December 1989). "Minesweepers Cut Down For Scrap". The Argus. Cape Town. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  3. ^ Reporter, Shipping (7 December 1989). "Mine Hunters Ditched". Cape Times. Cape Town. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  4. ^ Troost, Joanna (21 May 2003). "Cars Totally Shredded". Tygerburger. Cape Town. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  5. ^ Writer, Staff. "Going Green - SA Metal". Espresso Television Show. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  6. ^ Reporter, Staff (20 May 1999). "Scrap Dealer Opens New Billet Plant". Metal Bulletin. United Kingdom. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  7. ^ Reporter, Staff (7 February 1992). "New Cat Gets Its Claws Into Huge Scrap". Engineering News. Cape Town. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  8. ^ Jacobson, Ari (9 September 1992). "Scrap Metal Industry Feeling The Pinch". Cape Times. Cape Town. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  9. ^