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
South Africa’s national oil company PetroSA, through its subisidiary PetroSA Ghana, has secured a seven-year $150-million reserve-based lending credit facility with a consortium of banks. PetroSA CFO Lindiwe Bakoro said the company was pleased to close this...
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
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.
This Week's Magazine
Updated 1 hour 49 minutes ago The World Bank, the European Union, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the government of Sweden have agreed to provide Zimbabwe and Zambia with $294-million for the repair of structural deformations on the Kariba dam wall and avert the possible collapse of the...
Updated 1 hour 49 minutes ago Executive chairperson of the Global Electricity Initiative (GEI) Philippe Joubert says energy utilities globally, together with the business community more generally, have come to terms with the science of climate change, particularly as extreme weather events begin...
Updated 1 hour 49 minutes ago JSE-listed Emira Property Fund reported distribution growth per participatory interest (PI) of 9% for the six months ended December 31, 2014.
Updated 1 hour 49 minutes ago Sub-Saharan Africa is still faced with the challenge of providing citizens access to electricity and an additional $450-billion will need to be invested to ensure that people in urban areas have access to electricity by 2040.
Updated 1 hour 49 minutes ago Consulting Engineers South Africa (Cesa) last month said it was dismayed that the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) was seconding 35 Cuban engineers on a two-year contract to share their expertise with South African engineers in the water sector.