East London, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 11 May 2011 – 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 here by Daphne Mashile-Nkosi, chairperson of Kalagadi Manganese, in the presence of economic development and environmental affairs MEC Mcebisi Jonas and Coega IDZ CEO Pepi Silinga.
Construction of the smelter is expected to start in the third quarter of 2011 and it should be operational by June 2013.
“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 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 would be created during the construction phase of the project, and a further 400 permanent jobs were expected once the plant was 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 Eastern Cape will benefit from this investment," she added.
Jonas said the investment came at the right time as government had committed to create jobs in the province. He said manganese was a critical ingredient in metal alloy production, including stainless steel and other steels and aluminum. “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 was ready for the investors. He added that rail, road and sea transport was available. “This is a vote of confidence in Coega and it reaffirms the IDZ as a best performer in the Transnet stable.”