Cape Town - Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies said on Sunday his department had been hard at work for the upcoming launch of a R4bn titanium beneficiation project.
The project relates to the manufacturing of titanium pigment at the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (IDZ).
It will see Nyanza Light Metals, a South African company, extracting titanium from the waste steel slag and beneficiating it to produce titanium dioxide pigment which is a critical ingredient in paint manufacturing.
"The dti pulled out all stops to make sure that the project was a success because we realised the huge impact that it would have on the country’s economy,” said Davies.
"This is a significant milestone in the implementation of the country’s Industrial Policy Action Plan and the national beneficiation strategy."
Davies said the R4bn investment by Nyanza is good news for the country in general and the Richards Bay IDZ in particular.
The project will be the largest single investment in the Richards Bay IDZ. About 550 permanent jobs will be created when the plant is operational while 1 200 indirect and 800 direct jobs will be created during the construction phase of the plant.
The dti extended a grant of R17.1m to the company for feasibility studies from its Special Economic Zones Fund. It also approved an investment allowance of R900m and training allowance of more than R10m from its 12i Tax Allowance Programme.
The construction of the plant will commence next year, while production is expected to begin in late 2019.
Last year the dti conducted a scoping study to assess the economic viability of exploiting the bushveld complex magnetite deposits to produce iron-ore or steel and titanium through linking existing plants and projects.
The outcome of the study included the identification of industrial opportunities to produce pig iron, vanadium redox batteries as well as titanium pigment from the bushveld magnetite deposits.
Amongst the identified opportunities was the Nyanza Light Metals project, developed to produce titanium pigment utilising the Evraz Highveld Steel waste slag which was dumped for over 45 years in the bushveld complex as feed stock.
South Africa has the second largest titanium reserves in the world and produces approximately 19.5% of global titanium slag.
SA exports most of the titanium in the form of titanium dioxide or slag to Australia and Europe where the value addition happens and then re-imports the final finished product.
SA consumes 35 000 Tonnes Per Annum (tpa) of titanium pigment mainly in paint manufacturing. The Nyanza project will produce 50 000tpa of titanium dioxide pigment which it will sell locally and export into the rest of Africa and Middle East.Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter: Fin24’s top stories