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R3bn smelter complex boosts

Coega fortunes

A multibillion-rand ferro-manganese smelter complex is to be constructed in the Coega industrial development zone, the Herald Online reported on Wednesday.

It said the project would almost certainly mean a speedy upgrade of the railway link between Coega and the Northern Cape, where the manganese would be mined.

It could also speed up the removal of the manganese-ore facility from the Port Elizabeth harbour.

The value of the entire investment -- announced on Tuesday -- amounts to R3-billion. Production could start as early as the end of next year.

Coega Development Corporation spokesperson Vuyelwa Qinga-Vika expressed delight at the announcement at a mining indaba in Cape Town. This is another significant vote of confidence in Coega, he said.

In the past four months, Coega has secured a growing number of investments, including the R20-billion Alcan smelter and a R70-million bio-mass fuel project, as well as investments by Dynamic Commodities and Cerebos. A further four investors have been signed but not yet announced.

The Industrial Development Corporation -- the state-owned development finance institution -- unveiled the project. It has invested R60-million in the future of the manganese industry in South Africa through acquiring a 20% stake in Kalagadi Manganese.

The other major shareholder is Kalahari Resources, a women-led, broad-based black empowerment company.

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