South Africa’s Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ) is planning on building an aluminium metals hub in the KwaZulu-Natal city to take advantage of the ever-increasing replacement of steel by aluminium in the world’s automotive sector.
“Richards Bay has the benefit of being the home to South32’s Hillside smelter – the largest aluminium smelter in the southern hemisphere,” said Pumi Motsoahae, RBIDZ CEO.
“This smelter produces more than 800 kilotons of aluminium per annum that provides substantial downstream beneficiation opportunities,” he added.
Motsoahae went on to explain that the planned aluminium facilities would have the capability of receiving molten aluminium from the South32 smelter at Hillside. It will also be designed to handle other downstream industries, like iron, steel, and titanium. In the area around RBIDZ, specifically Richards Bay Minerals and Tronox KZN Sands, about 30% of the world’s titanium and 30% of the world’s high-quality pig iron is produced.
“The aluminium hub will offer tenants a fully-serviced property located within a secure customs control area, which will reduce export and import duties as well as serve as a one-stop shop by clustering all the relevant government departments servicing investors moving into the hub,” explained Motsoahae.
Aluminium production is a mainstay of South Africa’s economy. The country is eighth overall for world aluminium production. The aluminium industry produces a great deal of foreign exchange revenues as well as employing over 15,000.
The RBIDZ is a secure, purpose-built industrial estate on the north-eastern coast of South Africa. Positioned on the deep-water port of Richards Bay, it is designed to cater to manufacturing of goods as well as production of services that increase investment in and employment for the area. The RBIDZ is a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) that offers incentives including tax, VAT, and duty free incentives to entities that qualify for same.