Jun 27, 2008
DURBAN|Natal|Engineering News|Mining Weekly|Omnia|Africa|Europe|South Africa|Zambia|Durban Airport|Johannesburg International Airport|Perishable Agriculture Products|Martin Creamer|Engineering News|Mining Weekly|Middle East|World Cup|BIOFUELS
© Reuse this
Makwetla: Let’s start in KZN, KwaZulu-Natal’s brand new international airport and global trade gateway is on schedule for completion ahead of South Africa’s 2010 soccer World Cup.
Creamer: Yes, a fantastic new airport is going up in KwaZulu-Natal after three decades of haggling. Finally we are seeing the La Mercy site being developed. It is not only for the passenger terminal, which, of course, is very important, but there is also an integration there with a cargo terminal and trade zone and an agricultural zone.
On the passenger side a lot of scope for expansion. It will start off with a capacity of 7,5-million passengers a year, but they are talking about being able to scale that up to 45-million by 2060. So, great expansion possibilities there, which airports always need, and this will take over from the existing Durban Airport. This footprint is more than three times bigger then that.
Then, going into cargo side, which will be very automated and have a fantastic IT backbone. The trade zone, which we haven’t seen in South Africa before, where you will have manufactured goods in the trade zone that are ready for export because of the availability of flights out the country. The agriculture zone, if they can develop that, it will take KwaZulu-Natal to the potential that it should have been for a long time.
High value foods can be flown out and put into world markets the next morning and that will be the big advantage of this agricultural zone if they can get it right and get the flights coming in and out of there. Markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa could perishable agriculture products coming out of Durban and into their markets the next morning.
That is possible with this airport and also being at sea-level it can take far more cargo then we can at Johannesburg International Airport. We are up here at high altitude, often planes have got to take off with cargo and the cargo has to be jettisoned because the temperature is too hot and they can’t take that much.
So it is important that you have a consistent export channel for agricultural goods and this is what may come out of this new international airport in KwaZulu-Natal, which is going to be ready by 2010.
Makwetla: South African company Omnia has chosen Zambia as the beneficiary of its multimillion rand investment in biofuels research. Why?
Creamer: It is interesting why they have gone to Zambia and it is also of interest to see what they are pursuing. Omnia, which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock, Exchange is not going to throw its money around willy-nilly. It is putting R29-million jatropha agronomics in Zambia.
Now, Zambia is a landlocked country and is having problems paying for its fuel. You can imagine that it pays more then we do and it has got to look at preserving its foreign exchange. One of the ways of doing this is with jatropha. We know it has been an antipathy worldwide towards using food for biofuels. Now jotropha is the next big thing, because it is a non-edible product.
It is a hardy product, drought resistant and can resist pests. But, the big thing is that 40% of its seeds contain oil. This can be the biofuels element and we see Zambia looking hard. It is not only Omnia now going into Zambia to do that research, because what is Omnia?
Omnia is a fertiliser company and wants to see what nutrients jatropha thrives on and it wants to do the economics and to sell its fertiliser. At the same time, this could be a situation for landlocked Zambia to benefit not only in paying so much out in foreign exchange for oil, but having a local agricultural hub that will employ a lot of people and will extract the biofuels from this jatropha plant.
Makwetla: Interesting enough, it could only happen in South Africa, as you say, vehicle-tracking company Netstar has launched a product to, of all things, track down stolen solar-energy panels.
Creamer: We have hardly had our energy crisis, we have put up a lot of solar panels and already those are vulnerable. To counter that attack from thieves who are talking the solar panels, probably for the panels themselves or for the materials within them, some of the silicon is very valuable.
Altech Netstar has now developed a tracking device and, of course, they are renowned for their tracking devices. In the past 14-years they have been able to track down 34 000 stolen vehicles. They say now this thrust into the theft of solar panels can be slowed down by their new device.
It is a very lightweight device, unobtrusive on the solar panel. If there is any disturbance there it reflects the distress immediately and then both their air and ground teams go out to recover the stolen solar panels from the thieves.
Makwetla: I can imagine lots of people coming up with innovative ideas on what to keep track on. 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
Updated 50 minutes ago General Motors Co CEO Dan Akerson will step down next month and be replaced by GM "lifer" and global product chief Mary Barra, a sign that the development of new vehicles will be the paramount focus of the company that emerged from bankruptcy four years ago. The...
Updated 2 hours 6 minutes ago Nigeria's state-energy company NNPC hasn't accounted for nearly $50-billion in revenue from the sale of crude oil which should have been paid into government accounts under law, the central bank (CBN) has said. CBN Governor Lamido Sanusi said in a letter dated...
Updated 3 hours ago Energy-focused engineering group Kentz is gearing up for what it expects to be material growth in Mozambique in the coming years, owing principally to the discovery of large-scale gas resources and the ongoing development of the country’s coal and power...
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
Road and Rail 2013: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2013 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...
Liquid Fuels 2013 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Liquid Fuels report examines South Africa’s liquid fuels market, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing,...
Projects in Progress - Second Edition (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s second Projects in Progress supplement considers some of the major project developments under way, including high-profile energy and transport projects, as well as a few of the lower-profile public and private developments. What remains apparent is...
Water 2013: A review of South Africa’s water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2013 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.
Canadian Mining Roundup for June 2013 (PDF Report)
The June 2013 roundup includes details of the development of TSX-V-listed Aldridge Minerals’ flagship Yenipazar polymetallic project, in Turkey; the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s renewal of Cameco’s uranium mining licence pertaining to the Cigar Lake...
This Week's Magazine
Mitsubishi Motors South Africa (MMSA) has introduced a 4x2 derivative of its Pajero Sport sports-utility vehicle (SUV), which will give it access to a substantial slice of the full-size SUV market, where it will compete with the likes of the Ford Everest, Chevrolet...
South African Energy Minister Ben Martins has affirmed that the government wants the country to be globally competitive in the nuclear sector. "Our responsibility has always been ... to ensure that, in nuclear energy, South Africa can compete with the rest of the...
Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) president and CEO Dr Martin Zimmermann describes the new S-Class as “a special place to be”, with the car creating a sense of “wellness” once you are seated inside the German brand’s flagship model. It is difficult to argue...
Water scarcity and water-quality issues are broadly recognised and understood in most political, business and civil organisations in South Africa, but solving water issues will require wide and continuous action in catchments and municipalities by organisations and...
Work is well under way on the R212-million Imvutshane dam, 30 km north-west of Stanger, in KwaZulu-Natal, which is a key link in supplying people in rural Maphumulo with a reliable source of safe drinking water.