R4,2-billion manganese smelter to boost Coega

The Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) has received a major boost, with the announcement of a R4,2-billion investment for the construction of a manganese smelter plant.

The announcement was made on Tuesday in East London by Daphne Mashile-Nkosi, chairperson of Kalagadi in the presence of Economic Development and Environmental Affairs provincial minister Mcebisi Jonas and Coega IDZ chief executive officer Pepi Silinga.

The construction of the smelter is expected to start in the third quarter of 2011 and by June 2013 it should be operational.

“For us the investment confirms our belief in the Coega IDZ as a key strategic driver of industrialisation in the province. The investment will boost investor confidence in the Nelson Mandela Bay and the province in general. The production of Ferromanganese will be a catalyst for the development of the metals beneficiation cluster in Coega,” Jonas said.

Mashile-Nkosi said 1 000 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the project and a further 400 permanent jobs are expected when operational. The spending related to the construction of the smelter would result in direct, indirect and induced output of R7,3-billion in the Eastern Cape.

“We have a responsibility to use local skills and the people of the Easter Cape will benefit from this investment,” she said.

Jonas said the investment came at the right time as “government has committed to create jobs” in the province. He said Manganese is a critical ingredient in metal alloy production including stainless steel and other steels and aluminium. “The investment will kick start the planned development of the heavy metals cluster at Coega”.

As a consequence of the investment, other industries in the region such as machinery, and equipment, basic iron and steel, business services, catering and accommodation services, and security would also see relatively large increases in output.

Coega CEO Pepi Silinga said the IDZ is ready for the investors. He said rail, road and sea network is available. “This is a vote of confidence in Coega and it reaffirms the IDZ as a best performing in the Transnet stable.

Since it opened its doors to investors, the Coega IDZ has about 20 investors operating with a value of R16-billion. — I-Net Bridge

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