JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The continent of Africa must industrialise as quickly as it can, South Africa’s Trade, Industry and Competition Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina said on Tuesday when she presided over the signing ceremony of contracts to advance a titanium beneficiation project in KwaZulu-Natal.
“Africa must catch up to other industrialised economies,” Gina stated as East China Engineering Science and Technology formalised an engineeringprocurement and construction (EPC) contract as well as an operations and maintenance (OM) contract with Nyanza Light Metals, for the building of an 80 000 t/y titanium dioxide (Ti02) pigment plant in the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone.
“The African Continental Free Trade Area enables us to change the game. Our endowments can be beneficiated on the continent, and be exported as value added products. Nyanza Light Metals represents that direction of downstream beneficiation,” said Gina, who emphasised the need for government officials to keep on improving project speed and turnaround times for investors.
“Investors are our salvation and we must be quick in sorting out regulatory blockages. This is critical for us as government because the spin-offs are far wider than corporate tax benefits. Associated with this project is vital job creation – permanent jobs – once the company operates in full after construction is completed. We will meet on the ground as we will come and do site inspection from time to time,” Gina said in acknowledging the contributions of Nyanza and the government of China.
Nyanza Light Metals CEO Donovan Chimhandamba described the conclusion of the agreements as marking another critical milestone for Nyanza as it drives towards achieving financial close and construction.
“Twelve years ago, Nyanza was just a pipedream. But today, it employs a significant number of people. When construction commences, we will create more than 2 000 jobs and have 850 permanent jobs once operational,” said Chimhandamba, who predicted that the operations would stimulate the local and national economy, triggering a rail link opportunity, combined with siding and shunting lines into the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone plus the building of a solar park and energy system.
TiO2, a bulk commodity produced using ilmenite or rutile, is a white pigment used in products such as paints, industrial coatings, plastics, papers, inks, foods, medicines and toothpaste. Ilmenite and rutile are found in KwaZulu-Natal’s rich mineral sands patrimony.
Gina’s meeting of the leadership of the East China Engineering Science and Technology earlier this year in her Department of Trade, Industry and Competition offices, coincided with her meeting Chinese Ambassador Chen Xiadong in Pretoria. At that meeting, the Deputy Minister recognised the commitment to bring value in the Nyanza partnership.
“China’s experience in complex projects of this nature has been emphasised, and to us, that is reassuring. Nyanza represents our pride as Africans. We want it to succeed. The journey travelled, including the raising of capital to finance, has been commendable.
“The completion of Phase 1 has inspired confidence that constructiondeadlines will be met. Chinese people are known for project completion, either on time or ahead of schedule. I have no doubt that we will meet the set deadlines in the months that have been targeted,” Gina stated.
The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition has been supporting Nyanza ever since it pledged its investment during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Investment Conference five years ago.
“We have been accelerating with them in navigating the path, working with our Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone and the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government.
“The R4.5-billion investment represent an opportunity that South Africaand Africans can change the resource curse that Africa has been known for, which is being the net exporter of raw materials from gold, diamond, platinum, iron-ore and many more minerals, including titanium. That era belongs to the past,” said Gina.
Edited by Creamer Media Reporter
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Panzhihua Haifengxin has developed a range of tio2 pigment which is client-oriented and aims to address customer needs in the fields of coating, ink, plastic, paper, and so on.