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Making Steel From Sand?

Mon, January 14, 2019  

Making Steel from Sand? New Zealand Steel leads the way

Thanks to NZ businessman and philanthropist, Sir Woolf Fisher, New Zealand was the first country in the world to make steel from sand. Fisher served as the first Chairman of New Zealand Steel Ltd. Today the men and women of NZ Steel are helping to continue to build New Zealand’s economy.

For more than 50 years NZ Steel has forged the standard and Bay Engineers Supplies is happy to help support them along the way as their preferred Safety and PPE Supplier.



In 1965 when New Zealand Steel was incorporated, the vision was to establish a steel industry utilising the abundance of local raw materials.

More than 2.5million years ago NZ ironsand (iron oxide) was created from volcanic rock deposits from the Taranaki region and ocean currents have transported the ironsands along our coast and beaches. New Zealand’s western beaches of the North Island are now rich in ironsand. 

In 1966 the mill at Glenbrook began construction and GALVSTEEL™ was developed. In the year 1968 it was made available to the commercial market. By 1970 NZ Steel had pioneered the direct reduction process for reducing the iron oxide from ironsand into metallic iron. Soon after the steel making and iron facilities began production of billets for both commercial and domestic marketplaces. The expansion continued and in 1972 the pipe plant was constructed. This was followed the by COLOURSTEEL® prepainting line ten years later. NZ Steel had a total estimated output of 300,000 tonnes a year.

The 1980’s saw some major investments and the commissioning of continuous slab casting facilities as well as the hot and cold strip mills. In 1994 ZINCALUME® steel went into production.

The black sands of the North continue to provide the iron oxide which allows New Zealand Steel employees to develop steel products which help to build the NZ economy.


Regardless of how small or large your business is Bay Engineers Supplies can assist you the same way we do with New Zealand Steel. We can supply quality Engineering Consumables, Safety Equipment and PPE Gear, Hose Supplies or Power Transmission Products. NZ wide service available.