As always on a Friday at this time, AMLive is joined by Martin Creamer, Publishing Editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly. Martin, a very good morning to you.
Wind-energy, we have talked about it before. Research underway.
Africa’s first research facility into the use of wind energy for bulk electricity generation has opened in the Western Cape. This is coming at a time when wind energy costs are starting to come down quite substantially with about a 20 % drop by 2005 and efficiency is starting to rise. It is starting to get a niche and the next few years will focus on research. There will be three turbines, two from Denmark and one from France. The data that they gain from that will create some idea of how wind can be placed in the energy equation in South Africa. We see that worldwide 10 000 MW of wind power has been installed and we are hoping that Eskom, which is financing this research, will be a contributor to the goal of sustainable power production on the African continent.
Who needs chicken when you can grow mushrooms, tell us about that.
A thesis done a couple of years ago into trying to reduce protein deficiencies in rural black communities came up with this idea with the oyster mushroom, which was growing in the Far East and hadn’t entered our shores until about 16 years ago. They said that these mushrooms contain a high protein content which could be a substitute for chicken. The Agricultural Research Council took up the challenge and they have now got oyster mushrooms growing in four different provinces. Most of the 200 people who have been trained to grow these mushrooms are doing it with their own consumption and selling them off to their neighbours. Now they wish to increase output in a farmer type framework. There are good signs in the Eastern Cape where one group of farmers is selling its produce in an open market in Bizana. The idea is to get this contract farmer base going and to get the growers to package the product and start exporting these with the help of the South African Mushrooms Farmers Association.
You have got news of a big Chinese investment in chrome.
The ASA Metals Center near Steelpoort in the Limpopo Province is one of the earliest Chinese investments here. ASA metals is owned 60% by Chinese intersts and 40% by the Limpopo Province. They set up modestly with a single furnace smelter and the Dilokong mine. That is now baring such great fruit that they are more than doubling up their smelter capacity and also increasing the mining production by close to 50%. Up to know they have been exporting ferrochrome that they produce at the smelter to Japan, Taiwan and Europe. Being a Chinese company they have got their eyes very much on export into China where the demand is growing quite substantially. Particularly because in 2006 there will be stainless steel production there. They are hoping that this new furnace will supply China and of course there could be growth coming after that because we know the appetite in China is pretty good. Already their employment level both at the smelter and at the mine is up to 370 people.
Thank you Martin Creamer, publishing Editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly.