President lauds opening of R7.7 billion Sappi Saiccor Mill upgrade in KZN

The Sappi Saiccor upgrade and expansion project is aimed at increasing the capacity and global competitiveness of Sappi Saiccor Mill, while also creating employment opportunities in the short- and long- term.


Devdiscourse News Desk | Pretoria | Updated: 14-09-2022 16:03 IST | Created: 14-09-2022 16:03 IST
President lauds opening of R7.7 billion Sappi Saiccor Mill upgrade in KZN
On Tuesday, President Ramaphosa said the opening of this project demonstrates just what the commitments made at the Investment Conference mean in reality. Image Credit: Twitter(@PresidencyZA)
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  • South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has lauded the opening of the R7.7 billion Sappi Saiccor Mill upgrade and expansion project in Umkomaas, KwaZulu-Natal.

The Sappi Saiccor upgrade and expansion project is aimed at increasing the capacity and global competitiveness of Sappi Saiccor Mill, while also creating employment opportunities in the short- and long- term.

The project marks the fulfilment of a commitment the company made at the first South Africa Investment Conference in 2018, when President Ramaphosa called for investments into the South African economy.

The first Investment Conference was convened with the aim of raising R1.2 trillion in new investments over five years and four years later, more than R1.1 trillion worth of investment commitments has been achieved.

On Tuesday, President Ramaphosa said the opening of this project demonstrates just what the commitments made at the Investment Conference mean in reality.

"Today, we are witnessing far more than a financial investment. We are witnessing an investment in infrastructure, people, innovation, technology and sustainability. It is an investment in community development, in the local economy, in our export capacity and in the industrialisation of our economy," the President said.

The Sappi Saiccor Mill is a major role player in KwaZulu-Natal, contributing over R6.7 billion annually to the local economy. The mill employs more than 1 200 staff and 700 contractors.

The President said this project and many others are an example of the impact of the investment drive. He said these projects show that South Africa's economy is on the road to recovery.

"These investments have been made possible, thanks to the partnership between government and business to drive growth and industrial development.

"The opening of this expansion project is the result of hard work, persistence, corporate vision and above all, is a testament to the enduring commitment of companies like Sappi to South Africa and its people," he said.

President Ramaphosa said the project supports a number of the country's national economic priorities.

Firstly, he said it supports sustainability and moving towards a circular economy.

"This facility supports our national carbon reduction goals. I am told that by using the best available technology, the aim is to halve CO2 fossil fuel emissions, significantly reduce plant CO2 emissions, reduce water consumption and reduce waste to landfill from coal ash by 48%.

"It is noteworthy that Sappi continues to use recycled and sustainable wood sources to produce circular and innovative bio-based products," he said.

Secondly, the President said the project contributes to beneficiation.

"Through this mill, Sappi is taking a product from South Africa's soil and producing dissolving pulp.

"More than that, this mill is producing employment, developing skills and adding economic value to an important raw material," the President said.

The project further contributes to rural and enterprise development by sourcing the much raw material feedstock from rural communities.

The President added that the realisation of Sappi's investment in Umkomaas sends the strongest signal that "our home-grown multinationals are taking the lead in investing in our economy".

He said this demonstrates confidence to other potential investors that South Africa is indeed a favourable place to invest in and to do business.

"It shows that you are ready and willing to play your part in developing our communities by employing more people and giving greater opportunities to small businesses.

"I look forward to seeing this project expand and thrive, and to witness its benefits for the people of Umkomaas, the economy of KwaZulu-Natal and the progress of our nation," he said.

(With Inputs from South African Government Press Release)

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