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Limpopo Business 2021-22

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The 2021/22 edition of Limpopo Business is the 13th issue of this highly successful publication that, since its launch in 2007, has established itself as the premier business and investment guide for the Limpopo Province. Limpopo has been attracting significant investments in the mining sector in recent years and with commodity prices of certain minerals rising in response to demand in the renewable energy and automotive sector, mining houses are well-positioned to expand production even further. This journal carries messages of welcome to investors from the province’s Premier and the MEC for Economic Development, Environment and Tourism. In addition to the regular articles providing insight into each of the key economic sectors of the province, there is special feature on plans to catalyse investment and growth in the province through measures such as industrial parks and the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone in the province’s far north, which is attracting billions of dollars in investment. News related to mining, agriculture, tourism, construction and property, water, education and development finance is carried in overviews of the main economic sectors.

OVERVIEW Energy Vivo is

OVERVIEW Energy Vivo is the site of international investment. The village of Vivo nestles between two mountain ranges, the Soutpansberg and the Blouberg. Blouberg is also the name of the local municipality which oversees Vivo and it is the largest of the four that make up the Capricorn District Municipality in the province’s north-west. About 175 000 people live in the local municipality and Vivo’s nearest big-town neighbour, Makhado, is 72km away. It used to be known only for servicing the local farming economy; now it’s the site of 108 000 solar (PV) panels that occupy 189ha of land and will supply power to the national grid for 20 years. The land around Vivo became the subject of interest to international investors because of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), which was originally initiated in response to the national utility, Eskom, being unable to guarantee sufficient and reliable power. The 28MW Soutpan Solar Power project is a Globeleq initiative, in partnership with local entities, the Izingwe International Fund and the Kurisani Youth Development Trust. Globeleq was formed by Norfund, the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries, and CDC, the UK development finance institution. The project supplies 61 000MWh per year, enough clean, renewable electrical energy to meet the needs of 13 000 average South African households. The REIPPPP was initially very successful but ran into problems in the last years of the Zuma administration. It is now back on track and received a major boost in the course of 2021 when President Ramaphosa announced that private producers would be allowed to generate up to 100MW without having to go through timeconsuming licensing protocols. The limit had previously been much lower, too low to make it worthwhile for many local manufacturers to consider investing. Two of the province’s biggest mining companies have announced plans to generate their own power. Exxaro’s huge coal mine at Grootgeluk (which supplies Eskom power plants) will be the site of an 84MW solar project and Northam Platinum plans to build a 10MW solar plant at its Zondereinde smelter. The Northam plant should be operational in early 2023 and the company expects to recoup its investment within four years. The concentrator of the Mogalakwena Mine run by Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) relies on constant and reliable electricity supply. With energy comprising a significant portion of SECTOR INSIGHT Exxaro and Northam Platinum are investing in solar plants. costs and Eskom experiencing difficulties in terms of its debt and its ability to supply reliable power, the mining company is investigating the installation of a large solar PV project. Anglo Platinum has pioneered an underground mining locomotive powered by a fuel cell. Platinum coating greatly enhances the hydrogen absorption capacity of fuel cells. Implats is already using natural gas to supply its refinery in Springs. Phase one of the project will see 20 Doosan fuel cells generating 8MW of power. The long-term goal is to generate 22-30MW. New needs An Energy and Metallurgical Cluster is an important component of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) under construction at Musina-Makhado in the far north of the province. A South African company has announced that it will manufacture at the SEZ new energy solar system products, energy storage systems and high-density polyethylene water pipes. LIMPOPO BUSINESS 2021/22 40

Soutpan Solar Power assists in helping South Africa shift towards clean energy production. This 28MW solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant began operations in 2014 and generates 61 000MWh per year, which is fed into the country’s national grid. Credit: Soutpan Solar Power The two local municipalities in the area have been allocated R147-million by provincial government for infrastructure upgrades, including electricity. A new public-private planning exercise, known as Impact Catalyst, is working on focus areas which include biofuels and intends to prepare the province to deal with the emergence of new sectors such as renewable energy. The provincial government’s Green Economy Plan has identified solar and biomass as the main kinds of renewable energy for Limpopo. With huge silicon reserves in the province, there is also potential to produce solar panels and solar charges for cellphones. Nine biogas digesters have been installed in the Vhembe District to be controlled by young entrepreneurs trained by the University of Venda. A group of 31 students is studying Energy Management Systems as part of the provincial plan. The idea of eight renewable energy development zones (REDZ) was first gazetted by national government in 2018. Others have since been added, with the CSIR noting that renewable energy projects that could be developed in these REDZ have the potential to make significant contributions to mine rehabilitation and to support a just energy transition in the specified areas. This includes areas where 12GW of existing coal power stations are planned to be decommissioned by 2030. The long-delayed Eskom project at Medupi Power Station finally came onstream in August 2021, only for an explosion during maintenance to stall the full introduction of power generated from the facility to the national grid. ■ ONLINE RESOURCES National Department of Mineral Resources and Energy: National Energy Regulator: South African Independent Power Producers Association: South African National Energy Development Institute: South African Photovoltaic Industry Association: Southern African Biofuels Association: 41 LIMPOPO BUSINESS 2021/22

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