South Africa has plans of becoming a beneficiary of its own precious metals. This was the message that came through loud and clear following the launch of the first state-of-the-art facility, custom designed to host manufacturing processes of platinum group metal (PGM) components for the fuel cell and electrolyser industries that underpin the emerging green hydrogen industry.
The project is being led by Isondo Precious Metals, a Level 2 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) platinum technology company. The company is establishing an industrial scale, high-tech, fuel cell and electrolyser component manufacturing facility within the OR Tambo Special Economic Zone (SEZ), adjacent to Africa’s busiest airport in Johannesburg. This facility has been designed to incorporate cutting-edge cleanroom and production environments that will house manufacturing, material preparation and research and development activities.
Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Fikile Majola, said the construction process of the facility was a significant milestone in the beneficiation of South Africa’s own precious metals. He said it supported the growth of beneficiation in the precious metals and minerals sector, with a focus on light, high-margin, export-oriented manufacturing of South African precious and semi-precious metals.
“The hydrogen economy is a potential game changer for the whole world. South Africa is well positioned to capitalise on this rapidly developing global hydrogen economy. Our department has, to date, approved R55 million towards feasibility and execution of the IPM manufacturing capability. The support of the green hydrogen sector will increase the competitiveness of our manufacturing sector,” Majola said.