The Sappi Saiccor mill situated in Umkomaas, KwaZulu-Natal, hosted a high-level delegation from the office of the outgoing MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), Nomusa Dube-Ncube, as part of the KZN International Investment Conference on 17 November. The MEC was accompanied by the deputy mayor of Ethekwini, Belinda Scott, and the TIKZN chairperson, Ina Cronje.
Sappi Southern Africa CEO Alex Thiel welcomed the delegation to the mill, stating that Sappi Southern Africa was honoured to be included in the main programme of the 2020 South African Investment Conference in KwaZulu-Natal and to showcase the investment programme worth R7.7 billion at Sappi Saiccor Mill, known as Project Vulindlela. The programme was first announced during the inaugural Presidential Investment Conference in 2018, when it supported President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for significant investment into the South African economy.
Project Vulindlela aims to increase capacity and global competitiveness, significantly reducing the environmental footprint of the company as well as equipment and processes. The improvements intend to deliver a number of benefits at its Saiccor Mill:
- Fossil fuel CO2 emissions will be halved
- SO2 emissions will be reduced by 37%,
- Water use efficiency will improve by 17%
- Waste to landfill to be reduced by 48%
- Increasing the mill’s capacity by 110 000 tonnes per annum
- Creating future permanent employment for 120 people
- Saving the company at least R300 million per annum
Furthermore, the KZN province will earn an additional R1 billion per annum of direct benefit to the economy. The construction phase of the programme, which will conclude towards the end of 2021, will create employment for about 2 000 people, with 1 670 employees from the local communities surrounding the mill already having benefited through the Vulindlela on-boarding facility.