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Coega sectors perfectly poised for the Lithium-ion industry

May 23, 2018
Coega sectors perfectly poised for the Lithium-ion industry

Automotive, Metals & Energy highlight synergies that will benefit the Eastern Cape Province

The Coega Development Corporation (CDC), developer & operator of the 9003ha Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) designed along the cluster model, linking related industries and their supply chains is home to 43 operational investors worth an investment value of R7 billion, the only SEZ in Southern Africa to reach R7 billion in such a short period of time since inception in 1999.

The Coega SEZ, located in the Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape, is home to the automotive sector, including companies such as– FAW, BAIC, ISUZU Parts Distribution Centre, Faurecia, Rehau, Groupo Antolin,Benteler, Hella and Q-Plas valued at over R12 billion located at the Coega SEZ and Nelson Mandela Bay Logistics Park opposite Volkswagen (VW) in Uitenhage.

Linked to this, is the Metallurgical sector, which currently houses four (4) companies, e.g. – Agni Steel SA, Kenako Concrete, Bosun Bricks & MM Engineering, valued at over R675 million. Lastly, complementing the aforementioned sectors is the Energy sector,which is home to Dedisa Power Peaking Pant, Electrawinds & the DCD Wind Manufacturing to mention but a few, valued at R4 billion.

Globally, the world is already up gearing for the new age electric vehicles and energy storage units for home and factories. Critical to this development Lithium-ion batteries, which has, among others, components and base materials such as Lithium Manganese, Lithium Cobolt Manganese and Lithium Chloride.

It is estimated that three hundred (300) electric cars are currently whooshing along South Africa’s roads and that by 2050 the world will be producing more than eight hundred thousand (800 000) of these electric vehicles.

“The Coega SEZ, South Africa’s leading investment destination in Africa, is the most ideal location in terms of readiness for the beneficiation of the base material for this industry,” says Sadick Davids, CDC Business Development Metallurgic Sector Manager. 

In addition, South Africa host 80% of the global manganese reserves. Manganese is a key ingredient in the manufacturing of most Lithium Ion batteries; the Coega SEZ’s is in very advanced stages for setting up factories to supply Gigawatt factories.

Davids adds that, “the Coega SEZ has the infrastructure, nodes in place to services exporting of manganese, and the skills capacity. The local industry is known for the historical battery manufacturing such as Eveready Batteries base in Port Elizabeth.”

From a jobs perspective, the value chain development of the manganese and  for the battery or energy storage has a potential to create more than 10 000 direct jobs and 15 000 indirect jobs plus an investment value  of more than R20 billion.

“What makes Coega SEZ an ideal location for the manufacturing of Lithium-ion batteries capacity as well experience in this sector. The CDC is also located nearby the Nelson Mandela University which could provide research based insight for advancing and growing the sector,” highlights Davids.

“The university, already a key technology player and boasts a testing facility specific for battery development. CDC’s partnership with other key state institutions in the province is making headway for the first investment in factories in Lithium-Ion batteries within the next 2 years,” concludes Davids.

“The CDC believes that the local production of manganese-based batteries will position the Eastern Cape to benefit from the emerging energy storage and electric mobility or e-mobility markets,” adds Sandisiwe Ncemane, CDC Energy Sector Manager.

“The Coega SEZ, being one of the leading SEZs in trade and investment players in the Eastern Cape, has the capacity and or infrastructure for a battery storage and manufacturing. The urgent relocation of the current manganese facility from the Port of Port Elizabeth and to Ngqura will serve as an enabler to this project,” concludes Ncemane.