Nov 02, 2007
© 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 minutes ago Up to 60 people were injured when a substation near Pinedene train station in Centurion exploded on Tuesday morning. ER24 spokesperson Pieter Rossouw said initial reports indicated it was a train crash, but this was incorrect.
Updated 10 minutes ago Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown reported on Tuesday that far-reaching interMinisterial committee (IMC) discussions were advancing on how best to reform South Africa’s State-owned companies (SoCs), many of which were currently underperforming. There are around...
Updated 1 hour 11 minutes ago South African diamond-mining company De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) has sold its Kimberley Mines to a consortium made up of Ekapa Mining and the London-listed Petra Diamonds. Petra CEO Johan Dippenaar on Tuesday announced the acquisition of 49.9% of Kimberley...
Recent Research Reports
Water 2015: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2015 Report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context but also in the African and global context in terms of supply and demand, water stress and insecurity, and access to water and sanitation, besides others.
Input Sector Review: Pumps 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2015 Input Sector Review on Pumps provides an overview of South Africa’s pumps industry with particular focus on pump manufacture and supply, aftermarket services, marketing strategies, local and export demand, imports, sector support, investment...
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
Road and Rail 2015: A review of South Africa's road and rail sectors (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2015 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 infrastructure and network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and...
Defence 2015: A review of South Africa's defence sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Coal 2015 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regards to the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local demand, export sales and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants in the...
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
This Week's Magazine
The BMW Group will invest R6-billion at BMW Group South Africa’s (BMW SA’s) Rosslyn plant to produce the next-generation X3 sports-activity vehicle (SAV) for the local and export markets. Rosslyn will continue production of the current 3 Series through its lifecycle,...
The lack of consequences for poor performance and transgressions on the part of contractors remains a significant hurdle to tackling South Africa’s service delivery challenges, delegates heard at the Consulting Engineers South Africa Infrastructure Indaba, on...
City of Ekurhuleni executive mayor Mondli Gungubele earlier this month officially named the city’s bus rapid transit (BRT) system, Harambee.
About 58% of unstructured data stored by companies is dark data, which means that the value or regulatory importance of the data has not been determined. Subsequently, most of the stored data add costs, rather than increasing revenue or reduce regulatory risks, says...
Effective logistics, import/export and manufacturing consulting services require detailed industry knowledge and experience, but can add significant value to these industries by providing expert advice on various technical elements in their value chains, says...