Environmental Technologies Industries
Export.gov logo and link to Export.gov Environmental Technologies Industries

Market Plans

South Africa Environmental Export Market Plan
Chapter 4
Specific Business Opportunities

Water, Wastewater, and Sewage Treatment

The water resources in South Africa are managed by a three-tiered structure composed of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF), regional Water Boards, and local government authorities. DWAF acts as the central controlling body, monitoring the use of South Africa's water resources and acting in cooperation with the Water Boards, which develop regional water supply and sanitation services.

The United Nations Development Program currently places South Africa in its “periodic water stress category.” It anticipates that by the year 2025, South Africa will be in the “chronic water scarcity” category if the population grows to 70 million as projected (South Africa Year Book: 1996). Due to this scarcity, the South Africa Water Act stipulates that effluents must be treated and discharged back into the river from which they were extracted as fresh water. DWAF also mandates use of a “receiving water quality approach” that takes into account downstream user needs in setting effluent quality requirements. This situation demands the constant development of effluent technologies as downstream requirements change.

The mining and chemical industries are major contributors to water pollution. The oil, malt brewing, metal finishing, and dairy industries also exacerbate water pollution and are in need of clean water technologies. The lack of clean water infrastructure to support the growing urban population further compounds water pollution problems, as well as those living in the townships and informal settlements.

Marine water pollution, both coastal and offshore, is also of growing concern. There are 63 pipelines along the coast that discharge an estimated 800 liters of sewage and industrial effluents daily. Oil leakage from offshore drilling rigs and oil spills also negatively impact the marine environment.

It is estimated that 43 percent of the population is currently without access to piped, potable water. DWAF’s objective is to provide a potable water supply of 25 liters per person per day, within 200 meter distance of every dwelling. DWAF also aims to provide sanitary waste disposal for about 16 million people who do not have access to adequate sewage or sanitation. The minimum standard calls for ventilated, improved latrines.

The central government has set aside $555 million, of which $12.8 million is to be made available to DWAF to supply water to the rural community. In addition, $5.4 million has been allocated to the rural community for use in sanitation supply programs.

The total annual consumption of water in South Africa has been estimated to exceed 16 billion cubic meters, and DWAF has predicted a growth of between 4 and 6 percent per annum over the next five years. At present, water consumption can be broken down as follows: 52.4 percent agriculture, 12 percent domestic (municipal) use, 7.5 percent industry, 2.7 percent mining, and 2.3 percent power generation. Domestic use is expected to increase from 12 to 17.3 percent by the year 2010.

Potential for U.S. Businesses
The size of the market for effluent treatment equipment is estimated to be about $104 million. Reservoirs, pipelines, dams, etc. are not included in this figure. Approximately 60 percent of this figure will be for local municipalities and related bodies, and 40 percent will be for industrial uses. Of the municipal portion, about 60 percent of the expenditures will be in sewage and 40 percent in drinking water.

According to local suppliers, between 80 and 90 percent of the equipment is manufactured locally, although in some cases it is manufactured under license from overseas. The demand for these products is estimated to be growing at around 10 to 12 percent per annum. This trend is expected to continue for the next several years.

Other areas of specific need identified and emerging environmental goods and services include the following:
--Equipment and systems to serve large and widespread areas as a result of the recent integration of suburbs and townships.
--Sludge dewatering processes.
--Transportation and disposal of the sludge from pit latrines. (Observers speculate that the company able to develop robust equipment to solve this problem will have a future in South Africa.)
--The projected increase in tourism and the development and provision of related infrastructure.

The following are expected to provide opportunities:
--The provision of new water supply sources to both rural and urban areas. Large water treatment plants, such as the Umgeni Waterworks at Midmar Dam, will be required. There will be opportunities for suppliers of packaged plants and equipment items if the necessary funding is forthcoming.
--A growing need exists for the monitoring of micropollutants, specifically for instruments that can measure a number of parameters at once and handle a number of observations over time. This demand for water quality monitoring will probably increase over the next five years.

While both old and new technologies are necessary, the greatest growth potential lies in those rural Reconstruction and Development Program (RDP) efforts involving the supply of potable water and sanitation at a minimum cost. Ideally, the technologies should be low cost and easy to deliver, install, operate, and maintain. RDP projects will require an emphasis on education, training, and total project management.

The number of water and effluent plants being constructed means that the next two years are likely to be important ones in the water treatment industry, although cost-effectiveness and availability of funding will remain crucial issues. The RDP is not likely to offer many opportunities to suppliers of large water treatment plants because most are to be rural water supply schemes, designed around simple systems such as boreholes and pumps. There will be more opportunities for suppliers of small- to medium-sized water treatment plants. Because of the labor-intensive nature of installing such plants and the need to teach local people how to use and maintain them, these projects will probably be undertaken by small private companies or agents of larger corporations.

The market for water treatment equipment in South Africa is relatively small and competitive. The three major players (jointly holding between 70 and 80 percent of the market) are Batemans, Biwater, and Aquazar. Batemans is a South African-based company, and Biwater is U.K.-based. Degremont SA and IMS Holdings, both of France, jointly own Aquazar. The French and British tend to dominate the water treatment sector in terms of total sales. Successful foreign companies tend to be those that remained in South Africa during the sanctions period. Successful companies also remain to deliver after-sales service.

The government procures water treatment products and services, as well as the Mvula Trust, the largest nongovernmental organization involved that supports water infrastructure development and sanitation. The Mvula Trust has an ongoing agreement with DWAF and receives government funding. The government uses the organization as an implementing agent, facilitating projects by using private-sector consultants to do the technical management, construction, and building. There will be opportunities for new market entrants. The Umgeni Water Board in Kwa-Zulu Natal Providence, for example, plans to spend between $222 million and $333 million during the next five to ten years.

Major End-Users
Water Boards: There are currently 15 Water Boards in South Africa. They were originally established to supply water for industrial and municipal use; however, their function will likely be broadened to include the provision of other services within their areas. The Water Boards are largely self-funded, selling water to the various end-users, including local authorities that in turn provide water to consumers.

There is no direct overseas funding of the Water Boards, but the board's civil construction projects are under the auspices of the RDP and the Development Bank of Southern Africa, both of which do obtain funds from overseas.

Projects undertaken by the Water Boards include the following:
--Increasing the Rand Water Board capacity by 12,000 liters per day by 1999. The total cost of this increase is estimated at $350 million.
--The Umgeni Water Board has a five-year program for capital projects and a 20-year program for future development. There is an ongoing need for equipment to supply an annual capital expenditure program to service the population of 3 million.
--Plans are in progress to upgrade and expand the Rustenberg Area Water Board. The anticipated cost is approximately $51 million.
--The Albany Coast Water Board is developing a seawater desalination plant. The equipment is likely to cost $0.5 million, and foreign suppliers are expected to be involved.

The Mining Industry: Six major mining houses dominate the mining sector in South Africa:
--Anglo American Corporation of SA Ltd.
--Goldfields of SA Ltd.
--Johannesburg Consolidated Investment Limited
--Rand Mines Limited

In 1994, the total capital expenditure in the mining industry amounted to $1.08 billion, and the largest area of expenditure was new plant, machinery, and other equipment, at $600 million.

Since 1990, the mining industry's annual demand for water has remained constant. Although there have been new mines and developments, increased demand has been offset by the closure and downscaling of other mines, and there has been a trend toward the more effective use of water resources. The gold mining industry alone consumes an estimated 6,400 liters per day.

Following are two examples of future mining projects related to water resources:
--The Samancor Group (part of Gencor Mining) is currently conducting a cost analysis for purification plants for the Evander and Free State Mines--each plant will supply between 5 and 29 megaliters per day.
--A potential development project at Gansberg Mine near Black Mountain in the Cape will necessitate the doubling of the Pela Water Board capacity, a project of about $4 million.

Local Authorities/Regional Services Councils: There are about 793 municipalities or local authorities in South Africa spread over the nine provinces, all of which must supply water and wastewater services. The list below shows provinces and the number of municipalities.
Eastern Cape-148
Northern Cape-112
Western Cape-106
Free State-99
Northern Province-50

As previously mentioned, local government in South Africa is currently in a state of change. Previously, relatively wealthy white-run municipalities were isolated from the poorer rural communities and the sprawling urban slums and squatter camps surrounding South Africa's towns and cities. Now, most of these areas have been integrated, combining wealthy and poor areas in a number of strategically arranged municipalities.

Generally, equipment required for sewage and water treatment plants includes centrifuges, drum driers, pelletizers, screens and presses, bagging equipment, pumps, incinerators, conveyors, coarse screening equipment, pipes, and valves (particularly resilient-seat gate valves, rising spindles, and reflux valves).

In general, the growth of the water supply is about 4.5 to 6 percent annually, although some councils report a much higher growth rate.

Following are examples of environmental projects currently in progress or planned:
--Phase two of the Riviersonderend/Palmet treatment plant will be completed in the year 2000. The mechanical and electrical components are worth around $22 million (Cape Metro Council).
--The Durban Metro Council has approximately 3.5 million people in its area, but only 60 to 70 percent of them have access to adequate sewage and sanitation facilities. A 10- to 15-year program has been put into place to provide for the total population. The budgeted expenditure for wastewater for 1996 was $26.6 million.
--The Stellenbosch Town Council needs to increase its capacity by 60 to 70 percent by 1999 and has $2.6 million budgeted for this purpose.
--A proposed Port Elizabeth Council project (1999/2002) includes an industrial harbor that will affect the water and sewage system and necessitate a treated effluent supply line of 14 kilometers; a pump station planned at Elandsjagt (1998/1999); and augmentation of existing booster pump stations on the Churchill pipeline (1999/2000).
--The Pretoria Municipality is considering an expansion of the existing waterworks (1997 to 1999). The estimated value of the project is $11 million.
--Krugersdorp Town Council reports Township Development projects through 2002 with a total value estimated at $444 million.
--The Germiston Municipality reports that equipment will be needed on a regular basis, and the value of contracts is estimated to be about $0.45 million per year.
--Wastewater treatment works at the Cape Flats will be expanded. A three-year contract was issued in 1997 for the mechanical site. The value of the mechanical equipment is estimated at $5.5 to $6.6 million.
--Mitchells Plain, a sludge dewatering and drying facility similar to the Cape Flats project, is planned for 1999 and valued at $2.2 to $3.3 million.
--Further extension of the Athlone works is planned by the year 2000, valued at $3.4 million.
--The Cape Town Metropolitan Council is planning to erect a new sludge conversion plant for the pelletization of sludge. Equipment is to be purchased overseas after study. The plant will be up and running in two years.

Equipment Issues
Sewage Treatment Equipment: The development of domestic sewage systems in South Africa usually involves upgrading and expanding existing systems rather than building completely new ones. Most frequently applied technologies use advanced nutrient removal methods, such as aerobic/anaerobic processes, to extract phosphate and nitrates. A fairly recent trend is the recycling of sewage by using the sludge as compost; therefore, growth is likely in thermal drying and composting of sludge. Minor players in the industry usually supply equipment as specified by consulting or project engineers. Turnkey projects for sewage treatment plants are supplied by one of the three major players (Batemans, Aquazur, or Biwater) mentioned previously.
Capital Equipment: Approximately 90 to 95 percent of major equipment items such as screens, clarifiers, and thickeners are manufactured locally because of the relatively low cost of materials such as steel and because the cost of importing would be prohibitive. The technologies and designs, however, are usually from overseas.
Analytical and Measuring Instrumentation: According to suppliers, the analytical and measuring instrumentation market is fairly small and conservative. It is currently worth around $11 million per year and consists mainly of imported products, as the market is too small to support local manufacture. Hardware for instrumentation is imported, but the software that runs it is often produced locally.

The equipment supplied by such international companies as Hydro Environment and ELE pHox includes portable instruments and fixed systems for on-line water quality monitoring of drinking water, sewage, and industrial effluents. There is a growing trend toward the automation of plants, particularly in sewage treatment, where additive levels tend to be automated. Erwat (East Rand Water), for example, runs 18 sewage treatment plants. One of the advantages of automation is that it is cost-effective. Potential suppliers should look for opportunities in this area. Because automation requires highly skilled operators, training to operate and provide emergency services will also be required.
Process Control Instrumentation: The local water treatment and supply industry represents the smallest market for process control instrumentation. Current annual sales figures are approximately $7.7 million, with real growth not expected to exceed 10 percent per annum in the short term.

Major Infrastructure Projects
In keeping with its Spatial Development Initiative, the Government of South Africa has identified several major water infrastructure development projects and projects and project requirements. These are:
Nkomazi Area Water Supply System: The timeline is undetermined at this point. It is reported that there is a “dire need” for the funding level of approximately $23 million. The concession cost is thought, therefore, to be at least this amount. Once the funds have been sourced, development can begin. Official sources list the timing as “as soon as possible.”

Project Summary
Project number:ENV-03
Location:Nkomazi Area, Mpumalanga Province
Project cost:$23 million
Export potential:$7.25 million
Key Contacts
Department of Water
Affairs And Forestry District Council of Lowveld and Escarpment
Contact name:Mr. Werner Comrie Mr. Nico Classen
Phone number:27-13-752-4183;
27-82-808-0435 (cellular) 27-13-755-2580;
27-83-286-1402 (cellular)
Fax number:27-13-7522-505627-13-755-2453

The Mlondozi Area Water Supply System: The pressure to grant concessions is strong. Project development will commence as soon as funding is allocated.

Project Summary
Project number:ENV-04
Location:Mlondozi Area, Mpumalanga Province
Project cost:$7 million
Export potential:$5.25 million

The Mswati Area Water Supply System: The approximate funding requirement is $6.6 million. The schedule for commencement of development is predicated on award of the concession.

Project Summary
Project number:ENV-05
Location:Mswati Area, Mpumalanga Province
Project cost:$6.6 million
Export potential: $4.4 million
Key Contacts
Department of Water
Affairs and Forestry District Council of
Lowveld and Escarpment
Contact name:Mr. Werner Comrie Mr. Nico Classen
Phone number:27-13-752-4183;
27-82-808-0435 (cellular) 27-13-755-2580;
27-83-286-1402 (cellular)
Fax number:27-13-7522-505627-13-755-2453

The Nsizaki Area Water Supply System: The timeline is undetermined at this point. The funding level is approximately $18 million. Once the funds have been allocated, development can commence.

Project Summary
Project number:ENV-06
Location:Nsizaki Area, Mpumalanga Province
Project cost:$18 million
Export potential:$13.5 million
Key Contacts
Department of
Water Affairs and Forestry District Council
of Lowveld
and Escarpment
Contact name:Mr. Werner Comrie Mr. Francois Van Eck
Phone number:27-13-752-4183;
27-82-808-0435 (cellular) 27-17-631-1257
Fax number:27-13-7522-5056

Solid and Hazardous Waste

There is scant information from South Africa on solid waste management. Information has never been gathered in the black townships and the countryside. The South African Government is currently developing new legislation, which will lead to new regulations, policies, and operating procedures for solid and hazardous waste. In the interim, the old system is being retrofitted to meet the immediate needs of the country. As in water provision, local government will play an important role in providing baseline information as most waste sites are under the management of local authorities.

DWAF and the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism in South Africa announced a joint effort to develop the Integrated Pollution Control and Waste Management (IPC&WM) policy. According to information from these two departments, “A national waste management strategy will be developed as a second phase of this project.” This strategy will give greater resolution to components of the IPC&WM policy.

Mining Waste
Mining companies produce most of the solid waste in South Africa. Some of this waste is toxic as a result of contamination with cyanide. The total annual amount of this waste is estimated to be 200 million tons. This waste is sometimes placed in very large dumps or used for backfilling mines and the rehabilitation of sites.

Municipal Waste
Urban populations in South Africa produce municipal waste. The most affluent areas of South Africa produce about 1 kilogram of waste per person per day. Practically all of this waste is deposited in landfills, although a small part is composted. Some recycling--specifically of aluminum cans, paper, and glass--also takes place.

Hospital Waste
Hospital waste is disposed of by incineration. The incinerators are normally small and in most cases operated by the hospital. One company in South Africa handles nearly all hospital waste that is not destroyed on-site.

Chemical and Hazardous Waste
The chemical industry produces most of the hazardous solid waste in South Africa. In the past, a considerable amount of waste was dumped at company sites. Since there are no large incinerators in South Africa, most of the hazardous waste is now deposited in landfills. However, only one site in the whole of South Africa is classified for hazardous waste dumping. This is called a codisposal site where hazardous waste is mixed with municipal waste. Extremely toxic waste is encapsulated in concrete or stored at the same site. There is a need for sophisticated technology to treat this type of waste.

A hazardous waste incinerator is planned for the Gauteng region.

Potential for U.S. Businesses

Potential markets for U.S. companies in the solid/hazardous waste field include:
Landfill technologies: Liners, covers, methane collection systems, barriers to prevent underground pollution migration into the aquifers.
Cogeneration of electricity plants: “Turnkey” power plants that burn trash to generate high-pressure steam and electricity. The plants will provide jobs and cheap electricity that will encourage industry to locate nearby, thereby creating more jobs.
High-temperature incinerators: For medical and hazard-ous waste, to include low-level nuclear medical waste. (See major infrastructure requirement for Peacock Bay below.)
Vitrification: The incinerated low-level nuclear waste can be vitrified.
Methane collection systems: Waste recovery, including farm waste, can be used to generate local electricity.
Slag recovery technologies: Recovery of precious metal from tailings (e.g., gold) can be realized, while cleaning up the slag heaps (e.g., arsenic) to environmentally safe levels.

Peacock Bay Hazardous Waste Incinerator Project: The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA) has approved a grant of $343,500 to the South African firm Peacock Bay Environmental Services (PBES) to fund a feasibility study on a proposed high-temperature industrial waste incineration project. TDA believes this project holds significant potential for U.S. exporters (up to $50 million) and will provide substantial commercial and environmental benefits to South Africa.

The study is intended to determine the technical and commercial viability of establishing hazardous waste fixed treatment, storage, and disposal facilities for government and industry near Johannesburg, South Africa. PBES, a privately held South African company, has been working on environmental projects for several years.

High-temperature, rotary kiln-based incineration, with integral air pollution control equipment, is applied worldwide as the most environmentally appropriate and cost-effective technology for treatment of broad spectrum industrial and hazardous organic wastes. Substantial quantities of these wastes are currently being generated by industry in South Africa, and a large backlog of poorly stored wastes currently awaits suitable treatment and disposal facilities. The technology proposed for this project has been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The proposed project will provide a key element in reducing health and other risks in South Africa and will help to minimize the adverse impacts of both current and future industrial waste streams. The ability to mitigate hazardous waste impact on the environment will become increasingly important given the projected rates of industrial growth anticipated in the country.

Following are a summary of the Peacock Bay Hazardous Waste Incinerator Project and contacts for additional information:

Project Summary
Project number:ENV-01
Subsector:Water Management
Location:Johannesburg, Gauteng
Project cost:$725 million
Export potential:$50 million
Owner/agency:Peacock Bay Environmental Service (Pty) Ltd.
Key Contacts
Company/ agency:Peacock Bay Enviromental Services (Pty) Ltd.CSIR Environmental Services
Contact name:Mr. Sidney Sanders Managing Director Cape Town, Western Cape, SA Mr. Sean O’Beirne Pretoria, Gauteng, SA
Phone number:27-21-644-98627-12-841-3463
Fax number:27-21-644-98627-12-804-1354
E-mail:sobeirne@ematek. csir.co.za

Energy and Air Pollution
Along with acquiring new environmental technology that will improve the health and safety of the population, South Africa is becoming aware of the environmental degradation stemming from deforestation and open combustion of fossil and biomass fuels.

Though crucial for sustainable development, energy production and use pose significant threats to the environmental stability and are responsible for over 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change. Suspended particulate matter and acid rain pose major threats to the local environment and public health. In South Africa, the causes of air pollution and contamination range from domestic coal burning stoves to uncontrolled emissions from fuel burning power plants to the use of virtually 100 percent leaded gas in vehicles. For example, it is estimated that in the city of Soweto, 88 percent of the black households have no access to electricity.

Potential for U.S. Businesses
Technological solutions are needed to alleviate air pollution from industries; alternative energy sources are needed to assist urban and rural dependency on domestic coal burning; and education on all aspects of air quality is needed. Many U.S. technologies would be appropriate solutions to these problems. Potential opportunities for U.S. companies include the following:

Clean coal technologies: Clean coal washing, scrubbers, and other fossil fuel-related technologies can dramatically degrade the amount of sulfur dioxide and other harmful emissions being produced.

Clean mining technologies: Technologies that negate carbon dioxide emissions will negate some of the greenhouse gases generated by the mining industry.

Alternative energy technologies: The ability to provide alternative electricity capabilities to meet current and projected domestic and industrial requirements could have a large impact on South Africa’s current dependency on burning coal.

Clean air technologies: Technologies that reduce ozone-depleting gases could have long-term impacts.
Unleaded gas technologies: The ability to convert existing petrochemical facilities to produce unleaded gas and convert existing and future vehicles to operate efficiently on unleaded gas are required.
Air quality monitoring equipment.

South Africa intends to electrify an additional 2.5 million households and approximately 17,000 schools by the year 2000. This large need for electrification has created opportunities for private investment by joint-venture consortiums. In theory, excess generation exists in the country. Nevertheless, power plant upgrades for life extension, or introduction of newer technologies, are likely to be needed to ensure that the electricity supply remains reliable as demand begins to dramatically increase. An opportunity exists for service-oriented ventures such as turbine refurbishment or specialty welding, which can improve existing power plants at a fraction of the cost of building new facilities.

There may also be a market to retrofit technologies to existing coal-fueled power plants, depending on the nature of future emissions regulations. Similarly, a window of opportunity exists for ventures specializing in energy efficiency. The energy intensity (i.e., energy use per unit of economic output) of South Africa is one of the highest in the world, and there is room for improvement in everything from housing construction to industrial energy use.

The greatest opportunities for electricity-related ventures appear to be in the field of renewable energy. Because much of the population of South Africa is located in areas far from electric power grid connections, renewable energy sources—photovoltaics in particular— are expected to play a big role in South Africa’s energy future.

South Africa’s priority in the electricity sector is rural electrification. This will improve the quality of life in nonurban areas and help stem the migration of rural job seekers into urban areas; however, the mechanisms for financing the electrification program have not yet been identified. Eskom, the national utility, has a monopoly on power generation and transmission. Should South Africa consider privatization and deregulation, opportunities for international joint ventures will emerge.

Coal, Oil, and Gas
South Africa lacks oil and gas reserves. This fact, combined with years of international isolation, led the country to build a highly developed synthetic fuel industry. Sasol is presently the world’s sixth largest private coal mining company and the world’s largest manufacturer of oil from coal. The South African Government started it in the 1950s to help reduce the country’s dependence on imported oil. Sasol’s coal-to-synfuels process, which involves coal gasification and subsequent liquefaction of the resulting syngas, supplies South Africa with virtually all feedstocks needed for the country’s petrochemical industry. Sasol also provides over one-third of the country’s transportation fuel.

Oil production in South Africa does not nearly meet the country’s oil demands. Of the 140,000 barrels of oil produced daily in South Africa, almost all of it--130,000 barrels per day--is synthetic. South Africa presently consumes about 400,000 barrels per day. Soekor, South Africa’s state-financed exploration company, has for years attempted to develop its own conventional oil resources in addition to synfuels.

A number of offshore oil development leases have been auctioned since the new government took over to entice foreign companies into the market. Soeker--together with Engen, an independent oil company in South Africa--is attempting to develop a small oilfield on South Africa’s southern coast. The downstream oil sector in South Africa is well developed, with sufficient refining capacity for at least 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day. South African refineries spent about $700 million on upgrades and improvements to accommodate the introduction of unleaded fuels into the market.

South Africa’s proven natural gas reserve is only about 1 trillion cubic feet, or about 0.6 percent of that of the United States. Although natural gas production presently meets the yearly consumption of about 50 billion cubic feet, additional supplies of gas will soon be needed. Enron Corporation has a memorandum of understanding with Mozambique’s Mineral Resources Ministry to develop the Pande gasfield, which contains as much as 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Enron would construct a pipeline to export much of the gas to South Africa. Two other somewhat less direct approaches to expanding South Africa’s natural gas resources are implementation of new technologies to extend the life of existing gasfields and coalbed methane recovery. The U.S. Department of Energy is sponsoring a coalbed methane project involving the Southern African Development Community and South Africa. It is too early to predict the possible impact of these projects on South Africa’s natural gas reserve.

Coal is one of South Africa’s largest exports. It accounts for 98 percent of South Africa’s energy production and 78 percent of energy consumption. At an estimated 60 billion short tons, South Africa’s coal reserves are the seventh largest in the world. Coal combustion in South Africa is now nearly 150 million short tons per year, with almost all of it used for electricity generation and synthetic fuel production. Sufficient coal reserves and a well-developed coal mining and transportation infrastructure make it possible for South Africa to export large amounts of coal. In 1993, about 57 million short tons were exported, mainly to the European Union. Coal ranks as South Africa’s third largest foreign exchange earner, after gold and platinum.

It is uncertain how the fuel sector will evolve in South Africa; however, opportunities exist for U.S. corporations, either as part of joint venture consortiums or by themselves. For example, there are opportunities in the oil sector for both exploration and refining, and as we have seen, South Africa has shown its willingness to open offshore tracts for exploration. Refining capacity is sufficient now, but planning for additional capacity and associated infrastructure will be needed in a few years as the energy needs of the country grow. The natural gas sector presents a clearer window of opportunity for technology
providers that can help extend existing gasfields or economically recover coalbed methane from South Africa’s extensive coal reserves. In the coal sector, there are needs for improvements in mine safety tech-nologies and for technologies that can recover energy from coal preparation plant refuse heaps and reclaim old mines.

However, there are strong indications that the energy field as a whole is the major source of air pollution as shown in the box below.

Indications of the Magnitude of the Air Pollution Problems
Eighty-three percent of South Africa’s electricity is generated by coal combustion.

Coal stoves and coal-heated boilers emit approximately 50,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) into the atmosphere. The mining industry accounts for an additional 27,000 tons of SO2.

The coal mining industry emits approximately 35 percent of the 2.25 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane. An additional 2 million tons of CO2 are emitted by the metallurgical industry.

Coal burning also contributes 68 percent of the 307.86 million tons of carbon dioxide and 83 percent of the 470,000 tons of nitrous oxide emitted each year into the atmosphere.

The chemical process industry is responsible for emitting 124,000 tons of toxic hydrogen fluoride gas and approximately 500 tons per year of other toxic gases (e.g., chlorine gas, ammonia, and hydrochloric acid).

Pollution from dust is an ever-increasing problem due to poor farming practices and lack of water.

Leaded gasoline acutely exacerbates air pollution and ozone depletion. The lack of unleaded gas technologies for refineries and resistance to converting to a “lead-free South Africa” indicate that this could be a long-term problem.

Contact Us  About ITA  ITA Site Map  Privacy Statement
U.S.Department of Commerce    International Trade Administration