The Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is at an advanced stage of setting up factories that will supply gigawatt factories with manganese, a key ingredient in most lithium-ion batteries.
Coega Development Corporation (CDC) business development metallurgic sector manager Sadick Davids says the SEZ is the “most ideal location in terms of readiness for the beneficiation of the base material for this industry”.
He added that the Coega SEZ has the infrastructure nodes in place to provide services for exporting manganese, as well as the skills capacity.
The local industry, Davids notes, is known for historical battery manufacturing such as Eveready Batteries, in Port Elizabeth.
From a jobs perspective, the value chain in the development of manganese at Coega for the battery or energy storage markets has the 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 battery capacity is experience in this sector. The CDC is also located near the Nelson Mandela University which could provide research based insight for advancing and growing the sector,” highlights Davids.
The university is already a key technology player and boasts a testing facility specifically for battery development, while the CDC’s partnership with other key State institutions in the province is making headway for the first investment in lithium-ion battery factories within the next two years.
“The CDC believes 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 CDC energy sector manager Sandisiwe Ncemane.
The urgent relocation of the current manganese facility from the Port of Port Elizabeth to Ngqura will serve as an enabler to the Coega SEZ, which has the capacity and infrastructure for a battery storage and manufacturing, Ncemane concluded.