The planned R40-billion energy and minerals complex (Chinese) just south of the border town of Musina in Limpopo. The project was initiated and driven by the Limpopo government and Premier Stan Mathabatha in particular. Ning’s plan for a giant coal-fuelled mineral processing zone was never tested via a feasibility study at all.
Maverick reported on the situation during April 2020.
Engineering consultants Mott MacDonald were tasked to look at the prospects for a coal-to-liquids complex (like Sasol) at the site now earmarked for a coal-fired power station, and multiple mineral smelting and processing industries, including a new steel mill.
The synthetic fuel plan made some sense because of the coal reserves present in the Musina area and as Musina lies on a major transport corridor along which fuel products could be distributed throughout South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries to the north.
Even so, Mott MacDonald warned: “The economic viability of the project depends largely on the quality and price of coal sourced from the area, the price of crude oil … and the access to markets (transport costs) that will enable it to recover the exceptional high capital cost of constructing the proposed plant, and clean up the high volume of greenhouse gas emissions – i.e. carbon dioxide.”
“A consortium … [has] been working to locate in the proposed Musina SEZ Metallurgical Cluster…
“This cluster development in the SEZ is seen as a flagship project between China and South Africa by Hoi Mor Industrial, who has signed an MoU with the Limpopo province premier in October 2014. Hoi Mor is well connected to the China government and the rest of the Chinese industry.”
The additions included an appendix listing “potential investors”, naming them as Hong Kong Mining Exchange Company Limited (a Ning company), Hoi Mor Industrial Group Limited (another Ning company), China Harbour Engineering Company, Rising Steel (Guangzhou) and Mwana Africa PLC (the previous name of ASA Resources, where Ning was already a director and major shareholder).
According to the Chinese website for the South African Energy and Metallurgical Special Economic Zone (EMSEZ), the park will contain: the coal plant; a coal washing plant (with capacity to process 12 mtpa); a coking plant (3 mtpa); an iron plant (3 mtpa); a stainless steel plant (3 mtpa); a ferro manganese powder plant (1 mtpa); a ferrochrome plant (3 mtpa); and a limestone plant (3 mtpa).
Government’s plan to develop a R40-billion Chinese-controlled energy and metallurgical industrial complex at the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone is dicey, however you look at it. The department of trade and industry (DTI) outsourced the development and management of a coal-burning, water-guzzling, capital-soaking heavy industrial zone in Limpopo to an obscure Hong Kong-based businessman, Yat Hoi Ning, who was removed as chief executive of his previous company amid allegations of misconduct and fraud.
Musina-Makhado power station, also referred to as the as the Power China International Energy Project, is a proposed 3,000-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station in the Waterberg area of South Africa.
Despite a London high court judgement against Ning, the DTI and the Ramaphosa administration – including Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy and the Limpopo government – have persisted with this scheme.
Despite the unexamined environmental risks they have handed over control of a large patch of South African soil for 90 years – and control of a project that, if implemented, will have major impact on the use of scarce resources, on exports, on pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and on the local environment, labour market and economy.
In this four-part series, we look at:
- the opaque operator (led by Ning) that the DTI appointed as project manager;
- the flawed process for designating the so-called Energy and Metallurgical Special Economic Zone;
- how conflicted Limpopo agencies charged with policing the project are not up to the task (Exhibit A: the wildly skewed operator agreement); and
- the critical environmental issues that have not been addressed.
China kon nie wag om so groot hap uit die land te verkry nie – dit het net te maklik gebeur, en mens kan nie anders as om te wonder wat is in ruil hiervoor – ryk neerslae minerale kom hier voor?
Staat gaan slegs deur die Chinese gebruik word. Die chinese se eie gebied binne 25 jaar, sommer so sonder enige besluitneming van enige etniese volk wat daarteen gekant is. Nie enige protesoptog nie – net mooi niks. Hoe lank voor hulle die hele land inpalm?
China – koloniale magte – colonial power
China in Afrika
LIEDA – LEDA
A vision is an inspiring picture of a preferred future. It is not time-bound and serves as a foundation for all policy development and planning, including strategic planning