Cape Town - Tenders are out for overview studies on the Western Cape government’s proposed new industrial development zone (IDZ) at Saldanha Bay.
A provisional study earlier this year identified a dry dock for shipbuilding, a hub for the oil and gas industry and a mineral processing plant as viable projects. The establishment of a container wharf might also be considered.
Western Cape trade promotion agency Wesgro is handling the tender process. The department of trade and industry and the Western Cape government are paying about R4.5m each for the complete viability study.
Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Alan Winde said long-term opportunities must be investigated as comprehensively as possible and a balance needs to be maintained between an IDZ and environmental conservation, particularly in the nearby Langebaan area.
Saldanha Steel, which is expected to form an important component of an IDZ, was recently in the news when ArcelorMittal South Africa, to which it belongs, threatened to shut it down because of a dispute with Kumba Iron Ore.
Spokesperson for the ministry of the environment, planning and development Nils Flaatten and Winde said the sustainability or otherwise of the steel plant, although an important player, will not prevent the establishment of an IDZ.
They did not, however, believe Saldanha Steel would shut down.
Saldanha Bay as a site for an IDZ has a number of plus points, including its proximity to Cape Town and a major railway line.