The Namakwa SEZ (Special Economic Zone)
Gearing the western SADC up for economic growth.
The proposed Namakwa SEZ is located in a small mining town called Aggeneys. Aggeneys is in the Khai-Ma Local Municipality within the Namakwa District Municipality of the Northern Cape Province.
Aggeneys is 66 km from Poffador (headquarters of the local municipality) and 110 km from Springbok, where the office of the district municipality is located.
Key goals behind the establishment of Special Economic Zones are:
- To encourage industries to develop in clusters, leading to economies of scale, skills-sharing and easier access by suppliers;
- To create industrial infrastructure to promote investment;
- To promote cooperation between the public and private sectors;
- To use the zones as a launching pad for other developments.
The value proposition of the Namakwa SEZ is based on the existence of the Gamsberg Zinc Mine and the proposed building of a smelter by Vedanta Zinc International. These would be the anchor tenants of the SEZ.
Various domestic and international investment partners have indicated a keen interest to invest in the Namakwa SEZ with industries that include but are not limited to mineral beneficiation, construction, agriculture, green energy production, petrochemical, transport, engineering supplies, localisation and SMME development.
The Namakwa SEZ development is “the game changer” for minerals beneficiation in South Africa and the Northern Cape province providing a “turnkey solution” to industrialisation.
Post-SEZ designation the project will initiate Phase 1 (2023-2024) of the project which will be the SEZ construction and development. The Northern Cape Provincial Government, with support and guidance provided by the dtic, is fully aligned to the establishment of the SEZ and has committed all efforts and energy to make a real success of this project.
It is proposed that a smelter be built to treat zinc concentrate produced at Gamsberg. The zinc concentrate produced at the existing concentrator plant will be treated in the smelter using the conventional roast-leach-electrowinning (R-L-E) process.
The full process would involve the treatment of 680 000/tpa of zinc concentrate to produce 300 000/tpa of high-grade zinc ingots for export.
As a by-product 450 000/tpa of 98.5% pure sulphuric acid will be produced for both export and consumption within South Africa*.
Various types of infrastructure will be needed to support the smelter.
- Secured landfill facility: 21 ha in extent and situated 1 km away from the smelter, connected by a paved road.
- New water pipeline: Approximately 7 km water pipeline to connect the Horseshoe reservoir with the smelter complex.
- Business partner camp: 12 ha for accommodation during the construction period.
- Laydown area: 15 ha for use during the construction period.
Non-ferrous metals such as zinc have characteristics that make them immensely useful in a wide range of downstream applications. Resistance to corrosion and their non-magnetic qualities are among the reasons for the wide range of uses to which they can be put.
It is envisaged that investors wanting to take advantage of the by-products of the mine and the smelter will be attracted to the Namakwa SEZ.
Various wastes and by-products will be generated by the smelter that could be useful to investors.
Waste includes: Iron cake stabilized (dry), Jarofix; effluent treatment plant cake (dry); evaporation pond salts (dry); and cellhouse sludge (dry).
By-products include: manganese cake (dry); Cu-Cd cement (dry); Co-Ni cement (dry); and sulphuric acid (wet). Investors in this category include businesses in the follow sectors:
- Sulphuric acid (including pharmaceutical, automotive batteries and paper bleaching)
Another category of potential investors in the SEZ are those who will provide ancillary services to the companies using the by-products of the mine and smelter complex.