Newlyn Investments has finalized its R4 billion investment pledged at the South African Investment Conference. The company, entirely owned by black stakeholders, stands as a top South African developer specializing in strategically placed and efficiently operated storage facilities. These infrastructures are strategically positioned near coastal and inland logistics hubs.
This most recent investment, revealed during the fifth South African Investment Conference held in Johannesburg earlier this year, marks Newlyn’s second commitment. Their initial pledge occurred in 2018 at the same conference, amounting to R2 billion. This earlier investment aimed to redevelop the Bayhead Rail terminal near the Port of Durban.
The current investment focuses on the development of a cutting-edge manganese storage and handling facility in the Coega Special Economic Zone within Ngqura, Eastern Cape. The facility, boasting a handling capacity of six million tons per annum, stands as a back-of-port manganese storage export infrastructure. It’s been meticulously designed in collaboration with global material handling technology suppliers to ensure operational efficiency, setting a global precedent by being the world’s inaugural near zero-dust emission bulk mineral handling facility.
Rajendra Balmakhun, Newlyn’s Chief Executive Officer, emphasized that this substantial investment amplifies Newlyn’s unwavering commitment to the South African economy, a belief steadfastly held over the company’s 27-year history.
He further highlighted that this investment responds directly to the government’s call for private sector involvement in critical infrastructure development, pivotal in stimulating economic activity, particularly during the current economic climate.
The strategic design of this new terminal as common user infrastructure aims to provide enhanced access to global export markets for both established and emerging manganese miners, catering to the expanding South African manganese industry.
Balmakhun underscored the significance of this venture, stating, “This national interest project will set a global precedent by being the world’s first near zero-dust emission facility, ensuring efficient handling of manganese ore from arrival at the Coega back-of-port location to its origin in the Northern Cape mines.”
He also highlighted the operational efficiency anticipated through rapid train unloading and ship loading, which could potentially increase rail capacity by four million tons annually on the manganese heavy haul rail line, without necessitating additional rolling stock investment.
The project serves a dual purpose by expediting the much-awaited relocation of the manganese export terminal from Gqeberha to Ngqura. This move would significantly mitigate public health concerns stemming from open manganese stockpiles in the city while facilitating the redevelopment of the Gqeberha waterfront precinct.
Balmakhun addressed job creation and skills development, citing an independent socio-economic report estimating the deployment of around 3,300 direct construction workers during peak construction, with an additional creation of 11,700 indirect and induced jobs over an anticipated 30-month construction phase.
Upon reaching operational capacity, the facility is expected to generate approximately 200 full-time jobs and a considerably larger number of spin-off positions. Newlyn has also negotiated a three-year commitment from its global technology partners for post-commissioning skills transfer and development, ensuring local expertise for operating and maintaining the facility.
To bolster the local economy, the global equipment manufacturers have pledged to produce most of the facility’s equipment and machinery under license within South Africa.
Balmakhun expressed Newlyn’s commitment to swift infrastructure delivery, deploying cutting-edge technology, and constructing environmentally compliant infrastructure while contributing positively to the local community and stakeholders.
He reiterated, “We are dedicated to strengthening our bonds with key stakeholders and our host community, positioning our company as a catalyst for socio-economic development in the Coega SEZ, Ngqura, and the broader Eastern Cape region.”
The project’s impact is poised to be a significant contributor to both the national and Eastern Cape economies in the coming years, contributing to sustained growth and development.