IN one of the biggest jobs boosts for Nelson Mandela Bay in recent years, a partnership between Bay businessmen and an Indian steel company will see a R400-million Coega smelter create up to 800 jobs over five years.
The news of Coega’s first steel melting facility, announced by the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) yesterday, comes just days before the signing of a formal partnership agreement between PetroSA and the China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) in a further step towards the construction of an oil refinery.
Project Mthombo, the R83-billion oil refinery which PetroSA wants to build at Coega, is expected to create thousands of jobs, but needs investors such as Sinopec to make it happen.
A memorandum of understanding between the two companies was signed in September to explore the possibility of working together to develop the refinery.
With cash reserves of $100-billion (R831-billion), Sinopec is listed on the Hong Kong, New York, London and Shanghai stock exchanges.
The formal signing will take place at the CDC offices on Monday.
Meanwhile, the businessmen behind what is touted to be the province’s first entirely black-owned steel processing plant – the Agni-Steel SA partnership comprising brothers Hassan and Sharaz Khan and Dhiroshan Moodley – said 800 jobs would be created over five years.
CDC spokesman Ayanda Vilakazi said a South African site had been decided upon after the Khans partnered with Moodley to take on new opportunities in the metal industry. They will make up the South African arm of the Indian steel giant, Agni-Steel.
The project will operate as a joint venture between Agni-Steel Pty Ltd (India) and a Bay BEE consortium, with a 10% stake going to the Industrial Development Corporation. A further 10% is being reserved for a workers’ trust.
After construction is completed within the next nine months, the project will follow a five-year roll-out plan.
This will be one of five steel smelters planned for Coega.