Authorities from the Western Cape and the Northern Cape have committed to collaborate and aim to join forces with Namibia, in a bid to create a green hydrogen investment corridor in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
The three regions have made significant investments in green hydrogen plant construction.
These collaborative efforts were announced at the inaugural Africa Green Hydrogen Summit, which begins on Tuesday in Cape Town.
Saldanha Bay is well-known for its steel industry production and large port infrastructure.
The summit’s key players, including potential investors, government decision-makers, and project sponsors, began with a site visit to the Saldanha Industrial Zone.
One of the priorities was a visit to steel manufacturer Arcelo Mittal which was reportedly closed down in 2020 due to high electricity tariffs, leaving over 900 workers jobless.
The company was using fossil fuel energy sources before it was closed down for maintenance. It is looking to be revived and use green hydrogen to produce low-carbon iron.
CEO of Free Port Saldanha, Kaashifah Beukes says, “There is a high demand potential for Saldanha. The Arcello Mittal team showing you around showed you they need about 104 kilotons per year. To put that into perspective, Japan in the decarbonisation journey have said that they want 400 kilotons by 2030. One plant alone in South Africa needs 100 kilotons so the market is immense for South Africa.”
Saldanha is one of the largest iron ore exporting, deep water, ports in Africa supported by rail link to mines in the Northern Cape.
Authorities say they want to leverage the strategic geographical location of these three areas to build a green hydrogen-centred economy corridor in the Southern West of Africa.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says “We will sign a memorandum of understanding with the Northern Cape today, we are hoping to get Namibia on board to make this a corridor of investment.”
Northern Cape Premier, Zamani Saul says, “We want to be active participants in the green economy transition. The Free Saldanha is important for the Western side hydrogen corridor. The free port Saldanha is critical to ensuring Northern Cape is combined and we are the Broogeu baby construction is underway and I am hopeful we will work in collaboration with Saldanha free port.”
Labelled as a first of its kind, the green hydrogen summit is dubbed the launch pad of the green economy in the next thirty to fifty years.