TNPA sets a date for relocation of manganese export facility

The Port of Ngqura will be home to the manganese export facility by 2023.

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has announced that its manganese export facility at the Port of Port Elizabeth will be transferred to the neighbouring Port of Ngqura by October 2023, where the commodity will continue to serve as an important catalyst for economic growth and development.

Nelson Mandela Bay is South Africa’s primary export corridor for manganese mined in the Northern Cape and exported across the globe.

During a site visit yesterday (Thursday), Nelson Mandela Bay executive mayor Athol Trollip said the municipality would continue to cooperate with Transnet to attract greater manganese export volumes through Ngqura while minimising the potential negative impact on livelihoods and the community.

Responding to recent public concern over manganese dust emissions, Port of Port Elizabeth manager, Rajesh Dana, outlined a manganese management five-point plan formulated by Transnet SOC.

“We do not dispute the fact that our manganese operation in Port of Port Elizabeth creates an inconvenience to port tenants and residents. However, as a responsible corporate citizen we have superior operational and compliance controls in place to mitigate these negative impacts. Our independent scientific data confirms that the current operations do not pose any medical harm to the health of employees and residents,” he said.

Dana outlined the five-point plan as follows:

  •         Public engagements with key stakeholders will be held to share information transparently. Reviewing controls with particular emphasis on dust suppression systems. 
  •         The continued analysis and collation of data relating to air emissions and their environmental impact, with appropriate remediation action.
  •         The establishment of a hotline to register any public concerns around manganese, which Transnet will use to improve its operations. The telephone number is (041) 507 1910.
  •         Monthly meetings with manganese operators will continue to ensure the safe, secure and efficient export.
  •         Quarterly public engagements with key stakeholders will be held to share information transparently.

Dana said Transnet would also continue to employ innovative technologies, seeking guidance from the International Manganese Institute to ensure its operations remained safe and efficient.

According to Dr Martin Prinsloo, a service provider of Transnet: “Transnet has a biological monitoring programme in place where blood samples are drawn from exposed persons on a regular basis and sent to an independent medical laboratory. Results have confirmed that not a single case of toxicology/poisoning has ever been recorded in the Port of PE. The manganese ore in the port does not pose a health risk when managed responsibly as Transnet is currently doing.”

He added: “Manganese should not be perceived as a poison. It is an essential element in the human body. If a person’s manganese levels are too low, it needs to be supplemented. If too high, it can lead to neurological problems, not respiratory problems. For a healthy body, the balance must be right.”

While the total annual throughput capacity of the Bulk Ore Terminal at the Port Elizabeth plant is 5.1 million tons, no more than 250 000 tons of manganese ore is stockpiled at the terminal at any given time. 

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