Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says the R4bn titanium beneficiation project for the manufacturing of titanium pigment at the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) is a milestone for South Africa’s mineral beneficiation.
Minister Davies said the project, which will be launched next month, is a significant and commendable milestone in South Africa’s mineral beneficiation and industrialisation paths.
The project 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.
“As government, we are delighted that our investment, both in terms of human and financial resources, will come to fruition when the titanium beneficiation project is launched in one of SA’s industrial zones. This is a significant milestone in the implementation of the country’s Industrial Policy Action Plan and the national beneficiation strategy.
“The dti pulled out all the stops to make sure that the project is a success because we realised the huge impact that it would have on the country’s economy,” said Minister Davies.
In a statement on Sunday, Minister Davies said the R4 billion investment by Nyanza is good news not only for the country but for 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 construction of the plant will commence next year, while production is expected to begin in late 2019.
The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) extended a grant of R17.1 million to the company for feasibility studies from its Special Economic Zones Fund. It has also approved an investment allowance of R900 million and training allowance of more than R10 million from its 12i Tax Allowance Programme.
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.
Among the identified opportunities was the Nyanza Light Metals project, developed to produce titanium pigment using the Evraz Highveld Steel waste slag, which was dumped for over 45 years in the bushveld complex as feed stock.
SA’s titanium reserves
South Africa has the second largest titanium reserves in the world and produces approximately 19.5% of global titanium slag.
The country exports most of the titanium in the form of titanium dioxide or slag to Australia and Europe, where the value addition happens and then reimports the final finished product.
South Africa consumes 35 000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of titanium pigment, mainly in paint manufacturing.
The Nyanza project will produce 50 000 tpa of titanium dioxide pigment, which it will sell locally and export to the rest of Africa and the Middle East.