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KwaZulu-Natal Business 2022-23

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The 2022/23 edition of KwaZulu-Natal Business is the 14th issue of this highly successful publication that, since its launch in 2008, has established itself as the premier business and investment guide for the KwaZulu-Natal Province. In addition to the regular articles providing insight into each of the key economic sectors of the province, there is a special feature on national government’s campaign to encourage private investment in ports. The vital role of the ports of Durban and Richards Bay in the South African economy cannot be understated and putting them in a better position to deal with commodities and cargoes of every sort is clearly in the national interest. A special purpose vehicle is to be created within Transnet to make dealing with private companies less complicated. The increasing importance of the Oceans Economy to the future of the provincial and national economy is relevant to any examination of the economy of KwaZulu-Natal. This applies as much to trade and ship-repair as it does to the exciting gas discoveries which have been made off the coast of Mozambique and South Africa.

OVERVIEW Forestry and

OVERVIEW Forestry and paper A campaign to plant 10-million trees has begun. The National Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has set a target for South Africa to plant 10-million trees, two-million per year for five years. The National Arbour Month campaign was held in 2021 under the title “Forest Restoration: a path to recovery and wellbeing”, signifying the importance of protecting and conserving the country’s biodiversity. Sappi has 19 production facilities on three continents (of which five are in Southern Africa) and 12 800 employees in over 35 countries. Sappi’s Stanger Mill is situated close to sugar cane fields from which it takes bagasse (dry sugar cane pulp) for use in its production processes. Typek office paper is made at this mill, which has the capacity to produce 80 000 tons of paper and 30 000 tons of tissue. At the company’s Tugela Mill up to 200 000 tons per annum of containerboard (corrugating medium) can be manufactured from recycled and virgin fibre. The giant Sappi Saiccor mill 50km south of Durban is the world’s biggest manufacturer of dissolving wood pulp. Business Times reports that Sappi’s December 2021 results showed a 26% improvement in sales, driven largely by containerboard, consumer packaging and self-adhesives. Journalist Thabiso Mochiko further stated that South Africa’s printing industry is experiencing something of a revival because of some unforeseen features of the move to online shopping. These include security features on labels and a future trend called printed electronics. Digital print, outdoor signage, billboard advertising and vehicle wraps are other markets doing well. The Mondi Group has grown into an international behemoth with 26 000 employees and operations in more than 30 countries. In 2019 Mondi announced that its primary listing would be in London and the JSE will carry the company’s secondary listing. Mondi’s Merebank Mill produces a range of office paper products including the well-known brand, Mondi Rotatrim. Uncoated woodfree reels are manufactured for the South African and Sub- Saharan African markets. Nampak produces crêpe paper at Verulam and Rafalo produces tissue paper. SA Paper Mills is another paper producer. In 2015, Australian packaging company Amcor purchased flexible ONLINE RESOURCES Forestry South Africa: www.forestry.co.za National Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment: www.dffe.gov.za South African Institute of Forestry: www.saif.org.za SECTOR INSIGHT Sappi reports an uptick in packaging and speciality paper sales. The 10-million Trees Programme has begun. Credit: DFFE packaging manufacturer Nampak Flexibles for about R250-million. This included production facilities in three provinces but in July 2021, rioters burnt the Pinetown factory to the ground. It has not reopened. Mpact’s upgrade of its Felixton mill has increased capacity and improved efficiency. The project cost R765-million and takes overall production up to 215 000 tons and a lightweight containerboard option has been included in the product lines. Mpact has plastics and paper operations, with the paper section divided into three divisions: paper manufacturing, corrugated and converted paper products and recycling. ■ KWAZULU-NATAL BUSINESS 2022/23 30

Mining OVERVIEW Operations at Richards Bay Minerals have started again. Richards Bay Minerals (RBM), a subsidiary of the Rio Tinto Group, resumed operations at its mineral sands plant and refinery in August 2021 but has not yet committed to continuing to invest in a major minelife extension. Operations were suspended because of violence specific to the mine, quite apart from the riots which affected parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal in July 2021. The suspension of the proposed 3-million Zulti South development remains in place. It is estimated that if the project were to go ahead, its value to the national economy over 25 years would be about R100-billion. The main products of the RBM mine are zircon, rutile, titania slag, titanium dioxide feedstock and high-purity iron. Since 2018, titanium dioxide producer Tronox Holdings has contributed R22-million per year to local communities, including through local procurement opportunities. Tronox exports titanium ore, zircon and other materials to its pigment plants around the world where titanium dioxide pigment is produced for use in paints, plastics and paper. About 21% of the company’s workforce is made up of women. The KZN Sands mineral sands operation comprises a central processing complex in Empangeni and the Fairbreeze Mine. The Covid pandemic in 2020 added to the ongoing problem of reliable electricity supply, which is a critical issue for a big energy user like a smelter. After extended negotiations, South32 and Eskom have signed a long-term energy supply agreement for the Hillside Aluminium smelter to 2031. Most of the product from the smelter (high-quality primary aluminium ingot) is exported but some liquid metal form is sent to Isizinda Aluminium which supplies Hulamin, a company that has had a rolling mill in Pietermaritzburg since 1949. Hulamin is the only major aluminium rolling operator in the region and it makes rolled products and extrusions. Other processing facilities in the province include the steel plant owned by Arcelor Mittal in Newcastle and Safa Steel’s metal-coating factory in Cato Manor. ONLINE RESOURCES Council for Geoscience: www.geoscience.org.za Geological Sciences, University of KZN: www.geology.ukzn.ac.za National Department of Mineral Resources: www.dmr.gov.za SECTOR INSIGHT South32 and Eskom have finally signed an energysupply agreement. Credit: Richards Bay Minerals Some of the coalfields of the province have been revived. Petmin’s Somkhele Anthracite Mine, north of Richards Bay, has one of the biggest reserves of open-pit anthracite in South Africa, with measured and indicated reserves of more than 51-million tons. Luxembourg-based Traxys Africa, which has chrome mines Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, runs a high-carbon ferrochrome plant at Richards Bay. Finnish company Metso is spending about R53-million on building a second furnace at its Isithebe foundry in the iLembe District Municipality. This is in response to increased demand for large crusher wear parts. The KwaZulu-Natal foundry is one of five foundries the company runs on four continents. ■ 31 KWAZULU-NATAL BUSINESS 2022/23

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