The Aluminium Smelter is History In a
statement last night, the Department of Trade and Industry, Eskom,
the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Rio Tinto said the
supply of electricity to the proposed Coega
smelter project in Port
Elizabeth was insufficient to proceed.

The statement made no reference to cancellation penalties, but
confirmed that Rio Tinto Alcan and its partner, the South Africa’s
Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), had invested about
$130-million in the project since the conclusion of the power supply

The comments from environmentalists and business highlight the still
simmering differences of opinion on whether it was the right decision
to pursue the siting of an aluminium smelter in Port Elizabeth at the
Coega Development Project:

This comment from Ocean Messengers:

Nightmare Aluminium Smelter is History

Southern Right WhaleLets learn out of
this experience.

Was the smelter just a bad dream?

Ocean Messengers was well aware of the problems Eskom would have to
deliver the power to Alcan / Rio Tinto for the Aluminium smelter, but
the loss of theoretical jobs and an evadable pollution risk of the
prestigious potential World Heritage site is now at least, in terms of
the Aluminium Smelter, history.

Smelters around the world are know to cause cancer and pollute the
environment and its inhabitants (humans and animale) with deadly

The Ocean Messengers NGO was founded to create awareness of these dangers
and show to the public and industry how it will affect Algoa Bay.

It is yet to be clarified if rumours of a Billion rand penalty that
Eskom has to pay to Rio Tinto for not being able to hold its word to
the contract is true.

The work for Ocean Messengers has only just started: The Oil pollution
in Port Elizabeth’s Habour, Coega’s non compliance with marine
environment and the rumour that only one pilot can actually maneuver
ships in and out of coega (MyPE 7 October 2009) will have to

An Oil refinery is as bizarre as the Alcan Aluminium Smelter as the
Environmental and Constitutional issues around an oil refinery are very

It is up to the public to become aware that the tourism potential
within Algoa Bay is its future, and a far better solution than any
polluting and hazardous industries around Coega.

A bizarre scenario indeed if one thinks that spending Billion of rands
for a “new” oil refinery will justify the destruction of the Greater
Addo National Park on which more Billions of taxpayers money has
already been spent to extend and enhance the park.

The potential value of Marine resources and employment will positively
effect tourism and the world wide “green” trend to protect the

If Port Elizabeth, it’s responsible tourism managers, the Municipality
and Eastern Cape Government reacts to the world wide trend, of
environmentally friendly tourism, Port Elizabeth will have the greatest
chance, of all city’s in the world, to become an “Environmental Tourism
destination No 1”.

We already have Blue Flag Beaches, National Parks, World Heritage sites
(Bavianskloof), future World Heritage sites such as Algoa Bay and
combined with an International Airport we Port Elizabethans would
never have to fear a recession again!

Yet the present outlook of our Algoa Bay presents us with smoking
chimneys, dead animals on non blue flagged beaches and sea water full
of sewage, with no return tourists.

What is the future of PE?



The Port
Elizabeth Regional Chamber of Commerce
responded to the
cancelling of the power agreement between Eskom and Rio Tinton / Alcan
as follows:

As organised business we are saddened that an investment of this
magnitude may have been lost to this city. The smelter development held
significant potential for job creation, skills development, technology
transfer and downstream investment. All of these are greatly needed in
this metro if we are to grow our economy and increase the jobs and
skills base.

We respect Rio Tinto Alcan’s continued commitment to investing in South
Africa and their acknowledgement of the other favourable conditions
that exist for such an investment, as well as their pledge to respect
their existing social responsibility commitments in Nelson Mandela Bay.
However, it is clear that reliability of power supply remains the
crucial factor in securing the go-ahead for this project.

Efficient and reliable electricity supply is a critical factor in
attracting industrial investment of this nature, and Eskom thus plays a
crucial role in this country’s ability to attract and retain
investment. Investors need certainty and stability, and it is essential
that Eskom demonstrate that they take seriously their responsibility
for providing the right conditions to attract and retain investment.

The project, no doubt, lost further appeal as it became increasingly
clear that South Africa’s tight reserve margin, of below 15%, was
likely to persist for some years and as it emerged that Eskom’s tariffs
could rise by more than 250% by 2015.

What do you think?

Comment below or vist these forum topics: And
now an oil refinery?

and Alcan
at Coega

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