Every Friday morning, SAfm's AMLive's radio anchor Tim Modise speaks to Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly. Reported here is this Friday's At the Coalface transcript:
Modise: The Germans are investing R178-million in a new car-part factory in the Eastern Cape. Tell us a bit more about this.
Creamer: This sounds like a green shoot in the automotive industry. We have been hearing a lot of negative news about the automotive industry, not only in South Africa, but also globally. Now, we see that a German company is willing to come in even at this risky stage and invest in bricks and mortar in the Eastern Cape.
The company we are talking is Benteler Automotive. It is a 133-year-old family owned company and in 35 countries. But, it is here, really to supply dashboard panels, bumpers and chassis parts mainly to Volkswagen and it will be situated right next door to Volkswagen in Uitenhage.
It has also got an eye on the Coega port where it can also be doing exports. We see that their factory is going up at the moment and will be live be mid-next year. It is part of Volkswagen's plan to make sure that we achieve a 70% local South African content for South African produced vehicles.
Modise: The French are extending R1,5-billion credit for clean-energy projects undertaken in South Africa.
Creamer: Renewable energy is on the lips of people world wide and we see these international development banks coming through and wanting to give a stimulus to the various renewable energy projects.
Some of the projects that stick are the smaller ones. Now, we see that Agence Française de Développement (AFD) from France are willing to put a credit line of R1,5-billion up to commercial banks in South Africa. This must be used for small-and medium-sized energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
The banks that are involved at the moment and there could be more in the future; starting with Absa, Nedbank and the State-owned Industrial Development Corporation. We see that they want to enlarge this market and they also want to involve the smaller players. It is all about, in the end, reducing the global carbon-dioxide footprint.
Modise: Well, some more European involvement in the South African economy, with the Irish now backing the building of a wind farm in Jeffreys Bay.
Creamer: Yes, the Irish company Mainstream is prepared to assist with the funding and financing and development of a wind farm in Jeffreys Bay. They are looking at a part of Jeffreys Bay close to the farm area called Sunnyside dairy farm. The idea is to set-up a wind farm there.
The total envisaged investment in the longer term is about R2,3-billion for 125 MW wind farm. It will start small in a first phase of about 16 MW and the environmental impact assessment is being done that and once that is completed one can start looking at physically putting in the various wind turbines, which will be done in modules of about 2 MW and 2,5 MW each.
But, we see that South Africa is really lagging in wind energy and we know that we have only really got four turbines in South Africa as a whole in the Western Cape, compared to Germans, for instance, who have about 22 000 of these. So there is scope for movement forward.
Modise: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly, he'll be back with us at the same time next week.