PRESIDENT THABO MBEKI'S VISIT TO MOZAMBIQUE
President Thabo Mbeki will attend the Inauguration of the Mozal Smelter in Maputo, Mozambique on 21 September 2000. Also attending will be President Joachim Chissano of Mozambique, Chairman and Chief Executive of Billiton, Mr Gilbertson, and President and Chief Executive Mitsubishi Cooperation, Mr Mikio Sasaki.
Background on the Mozal Smelter
The MOZAL project is the construction and commissioning of a 250 000 ton per annum primary aluminium smelter in Mozambique, one of the most modern facilities of its kind in the world. It is situated at Beluluane in the Boane district, some 17 kilometres from central Maputo. Budgeted at over US$1.3 billion, it is the largest single foreign direct investment project in Mozambique.
The project is owned by an international consortium led by London-based Billiton (47%) and includes South Africa's Industrial Development Corporation (24%), Mitsubishi of Japan (25%) and the government of Mozambique (4%).
The MOZAL project mirrors the successful completion of the Hillside smelter in Richards Bay. Together with Hillside and the neighbouring Bayside smelter, Mozal will raise Southern African aluminium production to around 5% of total world supply and generate earnings of US$1.3 Billion a year.
The production of aluminium relies heavily on electricity. MOTRACO - a consortium of publicly owned electricity companies of Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland (EDM, ESKOM and SEB) - was formed in May 1999 to meet this primary requirement and the first power reached the smelter in April 2000.
Two transmission lines linked to the South African power grid - one direct, and one via Swaziland- feed into the transformers at the MOTRACO Beluluane substation, providing MOZAL with the 450 megawatts of power it requires.
The first aluminium was produced on June 18 2000 just 25 months after the start of the project and six months ahead of schedule. It is believed to be a world record for a Greenfield smelter of this size. Furthermore, the indicative cost to completion is expected to be below budget. The first aluminium export took place on August 7, with 16 000 of aluminium transported to a London Metals Exchange warehouse.
Southern African regional co-operation is at the centrepiece of South Africa's foreign economic policy. The key element of this policy is to strengthen trade, investment and industrial linkages between South Africa and its neighbouring states. The MOZAL smelter is a practical illustration of this foreign policy and its public private partnership will become a catalyst to economic development in the region.
Main Function: 11h10 - 12h35
Media Conference: 12h35 - 13h20
Lunch: 13:30 - 15h30
For more details please contact:
Nazeem Mahatey (The Presidency): 082 376 3820
Palesa Morudu (GCIS): 082 565 8062
Issued by the Presidency, 20 September 2000