The Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, says the time is now for the Non-Aligned Movement countries to make the best of the resources in their soil.


Minister Pandor was speaking at the start of the Department of Science and Technology/Non-Aligned Movement's Centre for Science and Technology Training Programme on Minerals Processing and Beneficiation, hosted by the Council for Mineral Technology (Mintek), in Johannesburg this morning.

The three-month training programme (15 January to 30 March 2015) will see the participants being exposed to Mintek techniques for mineral processing and undergoing in-service training.

The first cohort comprises participants from 11 countries, namely, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan and Zambia.

Minister Pandor gave examples of what South Africa was doing to localise and advance the field of mineral beneficiation.

"The first example is titanium. South Africa is the second largest supplier of the mineral ore that can produce titanium metal.However, we add little value to the mineral ore before export. However, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has developed a novel process in which titanium metal can be produced from our abundant mineral resources.

 

"These new capabilities can position South Africa as a world leader in the cost-competitive production of high-grade titanium metal powder. Titanium is a sought-after metal, especially in the aerospace industry, where aircraft and satellites need to be lighter so as to consume less fuel.

 

"Another example is platinum. Ten years ago we launched the Hydrogen South Africa (HySA) programme. This marked the initiation of research and development activities by two centres of competence, namely, HySA Catalysis and HySA Systems. We also established Clean Energy, a South African fuel cell company that will initially market and eventually assemble and manufacture fuel cells in Sub-Sahara Africa, in partnership with Anglo Platinum and Altergy Power Systems.

 

Minister Pandor concluded: "A third example is fluorine. Five years ago, we launched the Multi-purpose Fluorination Pilot Plant at Necsa's Pelchem in Pelindaba. Through this initiative, South Africa has the potential not only to develop much-needed human capital, but also to reduce the country's chemical trade deficit through exports, to attract foreign direct investment, and to increase high-tech research and development towards a stronger fluorochemicals industrial base."

 

Issued by the Ministry of Science and Technology

Lunga Ngqengelele

MLO – Ministry

012 843 6799

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