Home » South Africa’s Ilmenite Value Set to Surge After China Deal Signing

South Africa’s Ilmenite Value Set to Surge After China Deal Signing

by Adenike Adeodun

South African ilmenite, crucial for producing titanium dioxide pigment, has gained significant momentum in KwaZulu-Natal. Nyanza Light Metals CEO Donovan Chimhandamba spearheaded a key contract for a sulphuric acid titanium dioxide project. This move highlights Africa’s capacity to enhance the value of local resources through advanced material production.

The project, worth $750 million, secured a vital contract with East China Engineering Science and Technology Company (ECEC). This agreement, reflecting ECEC’s extensive experience, boosts investor confidence. It includes ongoing maintenance, ensuring the project’s longevity.

In export markets, South Africa’s ilmenite fetches around $300 per tonne. Yet, manufacturing TiO2 pigment at the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone could significantly increase its value to $3,000 per tonne.

Chimhandamba, in an interview with Engineering News & Mining Weekly, shared that the R14 billion Nyanza project aims to upgrade Africa’s raw materials. The project targets producing 80,000 tonnes of TiO2 pigment annually. This amount meets about half of Africa’s demand and a little over 1% globally.

According to a report by Mining Weekly, TiO2 is widely used in various industries, yet Africa lacks operational TiO2 factories. The recent signing at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing marked a major step forward. Nyanza’s collaboration with China promises to boost TiO2 production in South Africa, aiding Africa’s development.

Nyanza plans to source local ilmenite, potentially lowering costs by blending slag from Evraz Highveld Steel into the production.

The project’s sustainable model includes 12 MW of solar power, backed by battery storage, and 8 MW from cogenerated electricity.

A R200-million product testing centre has been set up. It will train over 200 graduates and workers for the main plant, expected to employ over 850 people.

More than 60% of the 80,000-tonne capacity has been pre-sold. During construction, the centre will train workers, preparing a skilled workforce.

The Africa Finance Corporation and African Export-Import Bank are funding the project’s feasibility phase. A third international finance institution is finalizing its involvement, with senior debt oversubscribed and equity interest high. Financial closure is expected by the second quarter of 2024.

Construction at the RBIDZ site is set to start next year, with major work planned for the third quarter of 2024. Arkein Industrial Holdings owns 70% of Nyanza, and DBF Capital has the rest.

Chimhandamba’s journey began 16 years ago at Vesuvius International and Rare Metals Industries. His continued dedication led to Nyanza’s establishment in 2011.

This project is a major leap for South Africa and Africa in maximizing local resources for high-value production, promising economic and industrial growth.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

The African Miner is the vanguard of the mining industry, delivering world-class insight and news.

Latest Stories

© 2024 The African Miner. All Rights Reserved.