File photo.

Johannesburg - ArcelorMittal South Africa Ltd. will shut the steelmaking operations at Africa’s biggest steel plant for three months after a fire, a labor union official said.

The shuttering of the operations at the Vanderbijlpark plant south of Johannesburg won’t lead to layoffs of workers as they will be redeployed, Deon Reyneke, head of metal and engineering at labor union Solidarity, said in an e-mailed response to queries after meeting with the company.

The company, which is based in Vanderbijlpark, declared force majeure after the February 9 blaze, saying that it can’t meet obligations to customers.

“I can’t talk about a shut down. An assessment of the plant still has to be concluded. That assessment is underway. I can’t indicate when it will be completed,” Julian Gwillim, a spokesman for the company said.

“The majority of the plant is still working.”

The company’s shares fell 1.2 percent to 31.77 rand as of 1:14 p.m. in Johannesburg. - Bloomberg