INVESTMENT Limpopo’s investment proposition Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are central to the drive to promote investment in beneficiation, energy and manufacturing in Limpopo Province. Credit: Glencore Limpopo is on a path to promoting jobs and economic progress through industrial parks and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) where manufacturers and businesses are brought together to create an ecosystem that generates both employment and growth. The Provincial Government of Limpopo has been encouraging investment in the province through a series of targeted conferences. The northern site of the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone (MMSEZ) has already been the subject of several investment promotion initiatives and these have been successful in attracting investors to the zone. The provincial government approved a further three focussed efforts to be presented by the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environment (LEDET). These are: • Limpopo Mining Indaba. To strengthen the role of mines in the provincial economy, the role of mining in host communities and to promote social cohesion. Mines such as Glencore’s Magareng chrome mine (pictured) are examples of the facilities around which other developments are being planned. • Limpopo Tourism Lekgotla. To create a platform to discuss recovery plans in the sector in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the intention of laying a solid foundation for the Provincial Investment Conference. • A virtual Provincial Investment Conference. In line with the SA Investment Conference hosted by President Cyril Ramaphosa, November 2020. To mobilise investments to expedite industrialisation in the province, reposition Limpopo favourably and take advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to change the economic landscape of the province. Economic planning within the province takes place within the framework of the Limpopo Development Plan. Key elements of the Limpopo Development Plan are: industrialisation (beneficiation of mining and agricultural products and produce); mining (local suppliers, improved training and access to sector for entrepreneurs); infrastructure development; agro-processing; SMME promotion; and ICT and the knowledge economy (establish a WAN footprint). Mining is currently the most important part of the provincial economy. Platinum mining developments on the eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex have increased this effect but although global commodity prices have been good in recent months, they can be uncertain over an extended period. One of the goals of the LDP is to see more beneficiation from the mining sector, which will support the goal of further industrialising the province’s 30 | www.opportunityonline.co.za
INVESTMENT economy. Related to this is an emphasis on the manufacturing that needs to grow. Special Economic Zones Two Special Economic Zones (SEZs) at Musina and Tubatse are intended to boost manufacturing. Specific manufacturing value chains are identified for each area, based on the base mineral being mined. The LDP notes that it is also important for planners to “promote diversification and multi-skilling of the workforce, in order to mitigate the risks of shocks associated with commodity price dips and mine closures.” The Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone in the north of the province is forging ahead. The planning phase of the Northern site of the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone has been completed and the provincial government has allocated R200- million to support the implementation phase. This allocation supports the installation of electricity, short-term water supply and basic security infrastructure. One of the most significant investment pledges received is from the Chinese enterprise, Shaanxi CEI Investment Holdings, which has made a commitment of -billion for a vanadium and titanium smelter project. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is currently underway for the Southern site, where a range of projects are planned, including a smart city, agro-processing, timber beneficiation, an SMME incubation centre and Musina Dam. A total area of 7 262ha has been designated for the SEZ, which is located 40km south of Musina and the border with Zimbabwe and 50km north of Makhado. A revised business plan for an SEZ at Fetakgomo-Tubatse in the eastern part of the province has been submitted to national government. The key element of this proposed SEZ is mineral beneficiation and the servicing of the mining industry. The area boasts one of the highest concentrations of rich mineral resources in the world and is a global leader of platinum group metals and chrome resources, hosting over 40 mining operations which also includes vanadium, iron ore and selected battery minerals. The priority industries in the FTSEZ will enhance local manufacturing capacity and contribute to a low-carbon green economy which will offer socio-economic opportunities while at the same time addressing climate-change issues and enhancing energy security. The FTSEZ is being developed in a partnership between the Department of Industry, Trade and Competition (dtic), the Limpopo Provincial Government, Sekhukhune District Municipality and the Fetakgomo-Tubatse Municipality. The revitalisation of industrial parks throughout the province is underway. The parks at Seshego, Nkowankowa and Thohoyandou have recorded good occupancy rates with the clustering together of related businesses making supply-chain management and logistics easier for small enterprises. The focus is on the agroprocessing, manufacturing, storage and recycling sectors. Impact Catalyst Another way of promoting the investment goal of creating growth and jobs is through a combined effort by the private sector, research institutions and government to ensure that major investments make a sustained impact on communities in which they occur. Limpopo is one of the three provinces in which the Impact Catalyst project is being executed. The goals of the Impact Catalyst are ambitious: no less than a reimagining of Corporate Social Investment in a way which brings business and society together. Impact Catalyst wants to bring the knowledge, expertise, networks and scale of the private sector to bear on health, education, how people earn a living, enterprise and social development. The approach is described on the initiative’s website, “A collective impact model is used to drive long-term initiatives that enables a shared vision, linked programmes, a common understanding of the challenges, co-investment of resources as well as public, private and social alignment.” The founders are Anglo American, the CSIR, Exxaro, World Vision South Africa and Zutari, an engineering consultancy. Several feasibility studies and pilot programmes are underway in Limpopo, as part of the Impact Catalyst’s efforts to stimulate economic development in the region. These include integrated game farming, agriculture, agroprocessing and biofuels, waste recycling and community health. With mining playing the role of a foundational sector in the Limpopo economy, the Impact Catalyst is part of an attempt to help communities build up other sectors of the economy to take advantage of the opportunities related to mining. Signing the Impact Catalyst agreement. From left to right: Limpopo Premier Representative, MEC Thabo Mokone, Malcolm Boyd from World Vision, Mxolisi Mgojo (Exxaro Resources CEO), Andile Sangqu (Executive head, Anglo American South Africa) and Dr Thulani Dlamini, CSIR CEO. Credit: Anglo American.