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Jul 17, 2008

Real Economy Report

© Reuse this From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, this is the Real Economy Report. Our top stories this week: we ride the first Gautrain, missile maker Denel Dynamics unveils some of its new technologies, and De Beers' Finsch mine unveils a new R630-million diamond plant.

Shannon O'Donnell:
Creamer Media Television's Irma Venter was in Derby for the official unveiling of the first Gautrain train set.

Irma Venter:
South Africa's high-speed Gautrain - unveiled in Derby, in the UK, last week - offers a similar look-and-feel to the London Underground, or the Paris Metro.

This is probably not surprising, as Canadian rail specialist, Bombardier, the same company who built the trains for the London Underground, was also responsible for developing the Gautrain.

The South African commuter train is based on the Electrostar series, with more than 1 600 cars in operation in the UK alone.

The blue-and-gold Gautrain rides on air-suspension, which allows for smooth travelling, even at the maximum speed of 160 km/h.
Each car has two electrically-operated sliding doors on each side, and two roof-mounted heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units.
Each four-car commuter train can carry up to 321 seated passengers.
The upholstery is a soft-woven blue cloth, designed to resist everyday wear-and-tear.

Each train has a section allocated to wheelchairs.
Inside the train, each rail car is fitted with two display units providing information on the train's destination, as well as updates on its progress along the route.

Security is provided by two closed-circuit television cameras per car. These images can be viewed from the driver's cab.
The Gautrain's 24 train sets will each consist of four cars. The first 15 will be manufactured in Derby, at the Bombardier plant, with the remaining 81 rail cars to be shipped to Union Carriage and Wagon, on the East Rand, for local assembly.

The Gautrain system will be fully operational in 2011, linking Tshwane, Johannesburg, and the OR Tambo International Airport.

Shannon O'Donnell:
We'll be back after this short commercial break.

Mercedes Benz advert

Shannon O'Donnell:
Denel Dynamics, which designs and manufactures missiles and unmanned air vehicles, is looking to the future. Keith Campbell reports

Keith Campbell:
Denel Dynamics is working on a number of technologies. One of the newest is a system to defend armoured vehicles against rockets and missiles. Company CEO Jan Wessels explains.

Denel Dynamics CEO Jan Wessels

Keith Campbell:
A third focus is active radar technology, developed under Project Raster. Jan Wessels.

Jan Wessels

Shannon O'Donnell:
De Beers Consolidated Mines has invested R630-million at its Finsch diamond mine to lift its production level to 2,2-million diamond carats a year. Martin Creamer flew to Finsch to get the details.

Martin Creamer:
De Beers, now in a more competitive global diamond environment than ever before in its 100 year history, has entrenched itself further as the world's most innovative custodian of diamond technology, taking its Finsch diamond plant another step ahead to justify its branding as "The Prince of Africa". Mining Weekly Online spoke to DBCM CEO David Noko:

DBCM CEO David Noko

Martin Creamer:
The restructured DBCM is now on track to produce 12,7 million diamond carats this year.

David Noko

Martin Creamer:
DBCM chairperson Nicky Oppenheimer, also at the Finsch plant opening, made these pertinent comments on South Africa's black economic empowerment developments.

DBCM Chairperson Nicky Oppenheimer

Shannon O'Donnell:
And now for a sneak preview of this week's Engineering News magazine:

We take an in-depth look at some of the efforts that have been made to make Transnet Freight Rail ‘growth ready'

Read how ice-core drilling in Greenland tells a worrying story of climate change

And, read of the new Enterprise Investment Programme incentive that aims to help embattled manufacturers upgrade their facilities

And in Mining Weekly this week:

We report that a unique opportunity is at hand for Africa to create ‘lasting value' out of the current global commodities boom

News that there is still a chance of a major new diamond discovery in South Africa

And, a report that South Africa may soon earn more from skyrocketing rhodium than from gold.

Shannon O'Donnell:
That's Creamer Media's Real Economy Report. Join us again next week for more news and insight into South Africa's real economy.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
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