Nov 02, 2007
Antwerp|Engineering|Jerusalem|Mumbai|Africa|Botswana Festus Mogae|CoAL|Defence|Design|Engineering News|Industrial|Marcom Aeronautics|Mining Weekly|Projects|Systems|Africa|Botswana|Poland|South Africa|United Kingdom|United States|USD|Morapuli Power Station|Building|Energy|Energy Infrastructure|Mining|Supply Energy|Systems|Technology University|Transport|Diamonds|United States Department Of Defence|Infrastructure|Mark Comninos|Martin Creamer|Power|Engineering News|Mining Weekly
© Reuse this
Makwetla: Now Martin, I am told that Botswana is taking firm steps towards realising its diamond dream of becoming Africa's Antwerp.
Creamer: The President of Botswana Festus Mogae has made it clear that he wants Botswana to be no less a diamond centre then Antwerp is, or that Jerusalem or Mumbai are. He has taken firm steps and has already licensed 16 diamond cutters and polishers. Six of them are already operating and the remaining 10 will be operative within the next three years. This will be an industry which will employ 3 000 additional people and they will be cutting and polishing diamonds worth between R3-billion and R4-billion a year. They are building up their intellectual capacity for this and at any one time Botswana has at least 19 000 students in global universities around the word on full international scholarships. 98% of those people come back and jobs are now being created to take in these new people. You have got a billion dollars and more being spent in Botswana on a new science and technology university. You have also got a lot of energy projects coming through, the one is $7-billion and that will be a power station linked to a coal mine that will supply energy into South Africa. The country itself is rebuilding its own energy infrastructure and is putting $1,2-billion into its own Morapuli power station.
Makwetla: I believe exciting ventures for South Africa with the United States ordering another batch of 500 South African-made armoured vehicles.
Creamer: Yes, the United States Department of Defence is really taking a liking to the armoured vehicles it gets from South Africa. The armoured vehicles we are talking about here are special armoured vehicles called mine-resistant and ambush protected vehicles. They have now ordered another 511 of the bigger version of these and 89 of the smaller version. That takes the total on order at the moment to 1 755 and it is a mixture. Some of these are going to be built in South Africa, when we talk South Africa it is the Land Systems OMC of Benoni and others will be assembled in the United States. All in all this is to South African design and South Africa will either get the royalty or will actually export the finished vehicle. In Benoni at the moment they are expanding their premises. They were producing something like one of these vehicles a day and are now ramping up to six of these vehicles a day between now and March. The US orders have really established South Africa as the supplier of these mine resistant and ambush protected vehicles to such an extent now that designs are also being considered by the Ministries of Defence in the UK and Poland.
Makwetla: Finally, a South African aeronautics company is planning to launch Africa's first commercial space rocket. Quite exciting.
Creamer: South African aeronautics company Marcom Aeronautics and Space are intent on launching Africa's first commercial space rocket. The person heading this is Mark Comninos. He is an aeronautics engineer with training in South Africa and also in the US. He sees a commercial gap in Africa at the moment because we know that 26 countries in the world are creating space agencies and there is a lot of demand for space transport at the moment. In South Africa if you think of a space agency developing here we already have the ground part of it and that is the Satellite Application Centre at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. We also have a company in Stellenbosch, SunSpace already building microsatellites. What we don't have is the ability to launch these into space. This is the gap that he wants to fill and he believes that he can do it at lower cost and 98% of the materials that he will use for his Cheetah 1, this is particular the rocket that he is planning to build, a two stage rocket, 98% of that raw material will come from South Africa itself. He believes that this can be built in three phases. The first phase, he says, could be done in 12 months at a capital cost of about R20-million. Already there is foreign funding interest, people from outside who see that we can possibly come down the cost curve on satellite launch vehicles for payloads up to about a ton, which would be what South Africa needs at the moment with SunSpace, which is awaiting a launch by the Russians, for instance. So he believes it is highly feasible to do this and we would also make a re-use of the Overberg test range. That would require a launch pad and other facilities to be built.
Makwetla: Always enjoyable chatting to you. 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
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Video News
Updated 3 hours ago South African cement firm PPC on Wednesday named a mining industry veteran as chief executive, ending a three-month leadership vacuum that has hit its shares. PPC's former CE Ketso Gordhan abruptly resigned in September after clashing with the board. He then...
Recent Research Reports
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
This Week's Magazine
South Africa remains an important manufacturing and export platform for Ford Motor Company, says executive chairperson Bill Ford. However, he adds that other countries on the continent are “becoming interesting”, and that the US carmaker is casting its net wider for...
Germany’s Max-Planck-Society (MPG) and the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPlfR) are investing €11-million (about R150-million) into South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope array programme. The money will be used to design, build and install S-band radio...
Infrastructure spend in sub-Saharan Africa will grow from $70-billion in 2013 to $180-billion by 2025, says PwC capital projects and infrastructure Africa leader Jonathan Cawood. This is one of the findings of PwC’s Capital Projects & Infrastructure report on East...
Private-owned defence and aerospace manufacturer Paramount Group and the Ichikowitz Family Foundation unveiled its Anti-Poaching Skills and K9 Training Academy in Magaliesburg last month.
The inclusion of Bluetooth to provide sub-three meter accuracy and heightened functionality for users is one of the ways to change existing wireless networks into engagement networks. An engagement network differs from common wireless networks in that it enables the...