Platinum saw-mills expand after lockdown

By | 2020-11-05T09:57:47+00:00 November 5th, 2020|

Nelspruit-based Platinum Sawmill, operating since 1991, is about to open a warehouse at the N4 Gateway which will give clients an option of buying their Saligna products directly from the sawmill in Nelspruit, or from the warehouse in Pretoria.

The warehouse in Pretoria will be ideally-located to clients in and around Johannesburg and Pretoria. Image credit: Platinum Sawmill

The warehouse in Pretoria will be ideally-located to clients in and around Johannesburg and Pretoria. Image credit: Platinum Sawmill

According to Johan Labuschagne at Platinum Sawmill, it makes a lot of strategic and logistic sense to have the sawmill based in Nelspruit and a warehouse in Pretoria. “Being close to the forests in Mpumalanga makes it a lot easier to get the logs to the sawmill, but at the same time you are further away from the bigger market in Gauteng. Our warehouse in Pretoria will be ideally-located to clients in and around Johannesburg and Pretoria who want to purchase our products. We use our own trucks to transport the logs from the forest areas where we source them to the sawmill. However, we do not do deliveries,” says Labuschagne.

Platinum Sawmill’s products include kiln-dried furniture-grade Saligna, wet off saw gum planks (which can also be can be used for scaffolding), and decking with no finger joints. Once the logs arrive at the sawmill from the forest it is put through MEM twin band saws. The scaffold planks are sold in a ‘wet’ form, and the rest of the wood, which is used in the manufacture of furniture, is left outside to naturally dry for about 18 months. Once dried, the wood is put through Incomac kilns and dried for a further three days before it is cut up in different sizes by the Crosscutter and Woodmizer rip saw for furniture wood and decking. No treatment in terms of chemicals is carried out, the wood is naturally, and kiln dried only.

According to Labuschagne the logs that Platinum Sawmills use are primarily sourced from Komatiland Forestry close to Nelspruit in Mpumalanga.

Labuschagne says that the Covid-19 pandemic affected the markets negatively and that corruption is hampering growth in the industry. “The growing trend of using artificial wood is a challenge in as well,” he says. However, he remains positive that in the long-term people will return to using traditional wood products again. “Although the timber industry is at a low at this stage, there is no doubt that we are starting to see an improvement, and if we continue doing what we do, the outlook in the medium- to longer-term is positive,” he says.