Coega goes live, aluminium decision expected in 2006

Posted On Wednesday, 02 November 2005 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Coega yesterday achieved a significant milestone in its construction, in the form of the official turning on of the zone's power supply.

Property-Housing-ResidentialOne of South Africa's investment success stories of this year, the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) yesterday achieved a significant milestone in its construction, in the form of the official turning on of the zone's power supply.

Valued at R194-million, the bulk-electrical infrastructure provides a total firm capacity of some 320 MVA at 132 kV and 200 MVA at 11kV.

Coega Development Corporation (CDC) infrastructure-development executive Bridgette Gasa said that the IDZ has also received all necessary environmental authorizations, with 90% of basic infrastructure within the core development area complete.

The CDC has commitments for R263-million towards enabling infrastructure for the 2005/6 financial year, and has budgeted R38-million towards investor-driven and property-development projects for the same period.

However, Gasa indicated that the corporation would change its focus in the medium term, from getting the necessary infrastructure in place, to a broader emphasis on attracting and developing investor-driven and property-development projects.

Hence, the expenditure mix between infrastructure and focused development is expected to change over the next couple of years, with R265-million and R388-million budgeted for infrastructure and investor-driven projects respectively in the 2007/8 financial year.

This month saw the completion of construction of the facilities to be occupied by the IDZ's first tenant, Sander International Textiles.

The building, representing an investment of some R200-million, is expected to begin full production during March next year, CDC executive Rustum Mohamed said at a media briefing yesterday.

The company is also expected to make an announcement this month regarding black economic-empowerment participation in the investment, which is expected to have generated some 500 jobs by early 2007.

The other two confirmed investors in the zone - MAN Ferrostaal and Straits Chemicals - are expected to begin construction in the second and third quarters of 2006 respectively and will generate some 450 permanent jobs.

On negotiations between the South African government, Canadian firm Alcan and a number of other stakeholders on the long-awaited proposed aluminium smelter, CDC CE Pepi Silinga said that the corporation remained optimistic that the investment would be given the green light by Alcan with an official announcement expected early next year.

"One thing I can tell you - Coega will have an aluminium project in this lifetime," he averred.

The most recently-announced investment, a desalination plant and chlorine-production facility by Straits chemicals, is expected to receive environmental-impact-assessment results by mid-2006 and, it is hoped, will begin operations by the end of 2007, Mohamed said.

He revealed that Straits had committed to including a 30% BEE stake, although negotiations in that respect were ongoing and remained confidential, he added The CDC is also planning to expand its call-centre facility to 1 500 seats, Mohamed said.

Together, the three projects represent fixed direct investments of some R3,1-billion, and are expected to each offer significant downstream and beneficiation opportunities to local businesses.

Plans are also under way to possibly expand the new deepwater Port of Nqura, which is will be completed by the end of this year, further inland to accommodate and improve the logistics for iron-ore and manganese imports and Gasa said that this had been investigated and determined to be viable by the National Ports Authority.

The port is scheduled to reach full operational status in Mohamed said.

On the way forward, Gasa said that the corporation would, while seeking to attract new investors, service the land beyond the Couga river, acquire additional skills resources for specialist services, continue to service zones 1, 2 and 3, and develop buildings for the signed-up tenants.

She also emphasised that the corporation would continue to fulfill its developmental mandate particularly in respect to the surrounding communities.

Last modified on Wednesday, 25 June 2014 18:04

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