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Sep 23, 2010

Real Economy Report

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From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, this is the Real Economy Report. Our top stories this week:
We look at a new South African weapons system for helicopters,
Effective waste management is a driver of a green economy in South Africa,
And, a dual focus is needed in the South African mining industry.

Shannon de Ryhove:
South Africa's ATE has developed a weapons system optimised for European aerospace major Eurocopter's helicopters. Keith Campbell has the story.

Keith Campbell:
ATE, or Advanced Technologies & Engineering, to give its full name, and Eurocopter recently demonstrated ATE's stand-alone weapons system, or Saws, fitted to a Eurocopter EC635 helicopter. This combination has been ordered by an unnamed export customer. Eurocopter Southern Africa CEO Fabrice Cagnat explains why the giant European company is working with ATE on this programme.

Eurocopter Southern Africa CEO Fabrice Cagnat

Keith Campbell:
ATE's manager for the programme, John Reynolds, explains what the SAWS is and how they came to develop it.

ATE's manager for the programme, John Reynolds

Shannon de Ryhove:
Effective waste management has been identified as one of the drivers of a green economy in South Africa. Christy van der Merwe visits Extrupet, a successful PET plastic recycling company in Johannesburg, to see how it works.

Christy van der Merwe:
Plastic is prevalent almost everywhere in our daily lives. It is convenient and affordable. But because of its durability, degradation is slow, posing an environmental challenge - littering our landscapes and piling up in our landfills.

But this does not need to be the case. Its 100% recyclable - and this is what is happening at the Extrupet facility in Wadeville. A green industry, creating jobs where PET drinking bottles, and HDPE detergent and milk bottles are recycled.

The plastic waste is brought in by waste collection companies. Bales are loosened and the bottles go through a sieve to shake off as much dirt as possible. Then the high-tech process starts. Bottles are sorted into types of plastic and colour, and PVC in the form of labels and lid liners is removed.

The bottles are chopped and washed, and move through a flotation chamber to once again separate any remaining PVC.

The dry, clean chopped PET flakes are then heated. In molten form the PET is run through a filtration system and emerges looking like strands of translucent spaghetti. This is passed through water to cool. Finally the strands are cut into pellets resembling glass beads, bagged and ready for transport.

Recycled PET is then supplied to manufacturers of polyester staple fibre, filament yarn, geotextiles producers and industrial fabrics, strapping sheeting and non food grade bottles.

And now, Extrupet has a highly-specialised facility to produce recycled PET for use in food-grade plastic manufacture. It is the only such facility in Africa, and already, demand for the product has been fully taken up by customers.

Extrupet also uses polyolephins from the process to create plastic profiles for wooden applications such as pallets, bollards and furniture.

Through the process the company is proving that used plastic is not waste, and recycling it is assisting the environment, making useful products and creating much-needed jobs in South Africa.

Shannon de Ryhove:
Transformation was a hot topic of debate at the recent Mining for Change conference, which was held in Johannesburg. Jonathan Faurie reports.

Jonathan Faurie:
Nationalisation of the mining industry has been a focus of discussion of the African National congress since in came into power in 1994. In order for this to move forward in 2010, rules within the industry need to be changed. McKinsey expert principal Dr Heinz Pley discusses why this needs to occur.

McKinsey expert principal Dr Heinz Pley

Jonathan Faurie:
He adds that equal attention needs to be paid to advancing the industry as well as its transformation.

Dr Heinz Pley

Shannon de Ryhove:
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: Shannon de Ryhove
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