Dr Keith Du Plessis – CDC Manager: Project Development at the site identified for the Coega Aquaculture Development Zone and Desalination plant. Image: Provided

The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) this past week received news on a landmark approval of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for a 440 ha Land-based Aquaculture Development Zone (ADZ) and Desalination plant in Zone 10 of the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

“The approval of the EIA is a major leap towards fulfilling the Coega SEZ’s vision to locate one of the largest ADZ’s in South Africa on one geographical footprint, in the Coega SEZ and respond to the severe water shortages experienced by the Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB),” says Dr Keith Du Plessis CDC Manager: Project Development.


It has been found that failure by especially smaller companies to obtain EIA approval often results in projects never seeing the light of day.  Because of this, the aquaculture sector in SA is largely untapped and underperforming.

“The approved EIA relieves the financial burden from the investor as it would ordinarily take up to two years for companies seeking to establish an aquaculture facility and or a desalination plant at the Coega SEZ. This is evident of the CDC’s value proposition as a “plug and play” environment, where investors have shortened timeframes from when they inquire about investing to when they have access to the market,” adds Dr Du Plessis.

The NMB Municipality, in this month, announced that the water levels of the Metro supply dams have reached an all-time low of just above 24 percent. The CDC now has the authorization to develop facilities for the desalination of water with a maximum capacity of 60 million litres (Ml) per day.

“This capacity, if tapped into, could provide for almost quarter of Nelson Mandela Metro’s current water consumption needs (currently at approximately 260 Ml/day).  The CDC is a capable and potential solution to the water problems experienced in the Metro,” outlines Dr Du Plessis.

Costs often associated with desalination are often viewed as a major obstacle to an extensive rollout of the technology; however, major strides have been made in this regard over the past few years that have seen the costs coming down substantially.

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