India to help South Africa beneficiate minerals

October 22nd, 2008 - 1:14 am ICT by IANS  

Johannesburg, Oct 22 (IANS) India has offered to assist South Africa in mineral beneficiation, a media report Tuesday said.Citing Indian ministry of mines Secretary Shantanu Consul, the daily Business Report said India had made the offer to a South African delegation led by Buyelwa Sonjica, South African mines and energy minister, when they visited Delhi last week as part of the third India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) summit.

As part of IBSA, which aims to develop special links between the states spanning three continents for the benefit of all the countries of the South, India and South Africa have set up a working group on mining.

India’s aid would include facilitating investment in South Africa by India’s state-owned and private sector firms, Consul told the daily, adding that India was one of the countries that Sonjica had looked to for help in advancing the government’s beneficiation policy, including skills development.

One of the first companies to benefit from Indian government assistance could be the National Aluminium Company (Nalco), a state-owned Indian firm, which is reportedly keen to build an aluminium smelter in South Africa. The beneficiation element in this project would be the use of local coal to generate electricity for a plant to process alumina imported from Nalco’s Indian plant.

India’s expertise in diamond cutting could also be roped in to assist the local industry.

There are a number of similarities between the new state thinking on mineral exploitation in both India and South Africa, where authorities believe that there has to be added value to minerals before they are exported.

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