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South Africa to test market for emergency power ‘gap fillers’ as IRP is finalised

South Africa will release a request for information (RFI) in the coming weeks to test the market for solutions to close an immediate electricity supply gap of between 2 000 MW and 3 000 MW, which has emerged primarily as a result of a fall in the energy availability factor (EAF) from Eskom’s coal fleet and a de-rating of the anticipated output from the much-delayed Medupi and Kusile plants. The situation has been exacerbated further by the fact that no new capacity has been procured since 2014, as well as by a protracted hiatus, between 2015 and 2018, in the construction of renewables projects after Eskom refused to sign power purchase agreements.

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Extruder offers higher casting speed

A new model of extruder for hollow-core slab production, has been introduced. The new machine will offer high casting speed, second generation automatic compaction control and bouncing prevention. In addition to the standard hollow-core slab production, the new design of the machine will also enable casting of a variety of precast slabs. Precast concrete offers a number of potential benefits, including faster production time with cost savings carried through to site installation. The blending of digital and machinery has resulted in more advanced precast manufacturing machinery.

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Stenprop acquires two industrial estates in UK

Dual-listed property investment company Stenprop has acquired two industrial estates in Glasgow and Wolverhampton, in the UK, in separate transactions, for £7.1-million. The first of the two new estates is the Western Campus at the Strathclyde Business Park, in Glasgow, which was acquired from Central Assets for £4.6-million and reflects a net initial yield of 6.8%.

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Hydraulic cylinder manufacturer boosts factory optimisation

Hydraulic cylinder specialist Hytec Engineering is the latest in the group to optimise its manufacturing and repairs operation.

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Eyeing economic growth, South Africa seeks to renegotiate old renewables projects

South Africa has started discussions with power producers to try to get cheaper electricity from some older renewable energy projects and give the economy a boost, several participants in the talks say. But participant power firms – some of which are backed by big names such as EDF Renewables – say they can’t give the government big savings on many of the 64 solar and wind projects that are part of the discussions, because most of the money has already been spent.

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Zimbabwe cancels deal with Transnet JV to recapitalise state rail firm

Zimbabwe has cancelled a deal struck with South African logistics group Transnet and its partner to recapitalise State-owned National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), citing a failure to meet timelines and funding issues, a government official said. The joint venture of Transnet and Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG), a consortium of Zimbabwean investors living abroad, won the bid to recapitalise the financially struggling NRZ with $400-million in August 2017.

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Mbalula calls for efforts to overcome inefficiencies, infrastructure backlogs

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has made a strong call to correct inefficiencies and tackle infrastructural backlogs. “We need to accept that the way we have been working is not working. We must grow Africa’s economy and connect our economies fast. Time is against us, “he warned at the opening of the African Ports and Rail Evolution forum, in Durban, on Tuesday.

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Kenya opens Chinese-built railway linking Rift Valley town to Nairobi

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is due to open a new $1.5-billion Chinese rail line on Wednesday linking the capital Nairobi to the Rift Valley town of Naivasha, despite delays in establishing an industrial park there to drive freight traffic. The extension links to the $3.2-billion line between the port of Mombasa and Nairobi that opened in 2017, also suffering from underutilisation of its cargo services. Both sections were Chinese-funded and Chinese-built.

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Any further delay to IRP approval will increase load-shedding risk, Busa warns

Amid a return of the load-shedding spectre, Business Unity South Africa (Busa) has called for the urgent finalisation of a “least-cost and least-regret” Integrated Resource (IRP), which it describes as the first step towards the stabilisation of the country’s electricity sector. Cabinet is expected to consider the IRP at its October 16 meeting.

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Cement industry continues battle to ‘level the playing field’

Faced with an influx of cheap imports, the cement industry is now taking its case to Parliament after it appealed to the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition’s (DTIC’s) International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) for support in the form of tariffs. Industry spokesperson and The Concrete Institute (TCI) MD Bryan Perrie will make the case for the sector in meetings with Parliamentary Committee chairpersonss and members this week.

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