Although Covid-19 has had an impact on most businesses in the timber industry of South Africa, for Mintroad Saw Mills in Alberton, it is business as usual. Timber IQ visited the site on Tuesday.
According to Roy Smith, owner and managing director at Mintroad, the more than 60 employees have been operating full steam for several weeks. Smith says that business is slowly returning to normal. Just like the rest of the world, Mintroad has had to deal with the impacts of Covid-19, but unlike a few of their competitors, Smith has managed to steer the ship through the tough times.
Mintroad Saw Mills was founded by Roy Smith’s father, Richard Smith, in Fordsburg, Johannesburg in 1945. In 1952, Richard bought land in Robertsham, Johannesburg, and the company expanded into the supply of gumpoles to the mining and building industries.
In the early 1970s treated poles were added to the product range and a comprehensive range of gumpoles and sawn timber was distributed to the building, civil engineering, road building, packaging, and thatching industries as well as building material merchants. In 1978, Mintroad Saw Mills installed its first timber treatment plant.
In 1990, Roy Smith bought the Alrode operations from Taylor & Mitchell, its main opposition in Gauteng. The assets included land with railway facilities as well as an additional three timber treatment plants. The sawmilling operations were expanded, and products developed to supply nurseries and outdoor wood outlets. A timber drying kiln was installed in 1994.