Steel plant planned for sluggish Otavi

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Tsumeb

The sleepy village town of Otavi could see a resurgence in its moribund economy following the local authority’s teaming up with private investors to prepare for the establishment of the biggest steel manufacturing plant in Namibia.

Currently most of the steel used in the country is imported from South Africa.

The project that will cost a whopping N$2 billion will employ 1 000 people in the construction phase and once operational will employ 450 permanent employees with other economic spin-offs.

The Otavi Re-bar project is a partnership between the Otavi Municipality and prominent mining consultant Andre Neethling, who will facilitate the construction of a steel manufacturing plant later this year. Neethling made the revelations in his capacity as majority shareholder in the venture.

Thes plant, according to Neethling, will serve several purposes but will mainly revive and complement the local scrap industries, which wouldn’t have to import scrap from other countries for manufacturing but will directly create revenue from the local plant.

The plant will produce steel re-bars, which is a contraction for ‘steel re-enforcement bars’.

“We will be processing scrap in the country to produce this commodity that is very essential for the construction industry. The construction industry needs steel and thus money spent on importing steel will directly stay home,” said Neethling who previously worked as managing director for TCL.

Plans are also underway to create a route for the export of steel on the same route the country’s cement produced at the Ohorongo Cement factory is being used to export to countries like Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“By using the same transport that takes the cement to other SADC countries to also take steel to those countries will boost the logistics and transport industry,” said Neethling.

The envisioned steel plant will be constructed at the old Otavi airport.

Unlike mines that have a limited mining life the plant will run for up to 100 years, says Neethling, who revealed he is looking at pre-listing it on the Namibian Stock Exchange (NSE).

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