Titanium beneficiation in South Africa: a product space and location-centric analysis

Engelbrecht, Denis McCord (2021-03)

Thesis (MEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2021.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The advantages and disadvantages of introducing mineral beneficiation initiatives and policies in developing countries such as South Africa, which are endowed with abundant natural mineral resources, have been the subject of debate for decades. Proponents of such strategies argue that mineral-rich developing countries should introduce policies that allow them to realise more economic benefits from their natural mineral bases. It is believed that by growing their productive capabilities, countries can increase the number of complex products they produce, and in doing so, support longterm economic growth that is less dependent on mineral resources. If value can be added locally to the raw minerals by moving further down specific value chains, such countries' economic and social benefits might be significant. Within this context, this study investigates titanium-related beneficiation initiatives in South Africa. The country is one of the biggest titanium mineral reserve holders globally. Based on historical experience with beneficiation-related policies, it is clear that such initiatives often fail, and that well-considered approaches are required if such policies are to be successful. Thus, this study attempted to identify specific undeveloped target sectors within the titanium value chain that could support the country's developmental goals. Furthermore, it sought to identify the key factors that would need to be in place to enable such industries to operate successfully. Identifying sectors that are deemed within reach and similar to those of South Africa’s current productive structure, whilst also supporting the development of new capabilities to “unlock” new sectors, forms the foundation of the study. By mapping out the titanium value chain using trade codes and drawing on trade data, the extent of South Africa’s current footprint in the global value chain is evaluated. Further evaluation of South Africa’s existing footprint regarding current firms and research initiatives is also used to enhance the evaluation. Based on the results of this evaluation, the most promising product categories for South Africa to target are identified for further analysis. Initial results indicate that product categories such as steam turbines and paint pigments can be considered product categories with significant potential. The identified industry is evaluated using key factors that affect global competitiveness for the identified industry at specific locations. By identifying the key factors that drive global competitiveness for an industry, specific interventions that would be necessary to support the development of the industry can be identified. The steam turbine industry is evaluated against the key factors, allowing interventions to be guided more accurately by targeting the most important factors identified for the industry.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die voordele en nadele van die inwerkingstelling van mineraalveredelingsinisiatiewe- en - beleide in ontwikkelende lande soos Suid-Afrika, wat oorvloedige natuurlike minerale bronne het, is die afgelope paar dekades die onderwerp van debat. Voorstanders van die strategieë argumenteer dat mineraalryke ontwikkelende lande beleide moet instel wat hulle in staat sal stel om meer ekonomiese voordele uit hul natuurlike minerale hulpbronne te bekom. Daar word geglo dat die lande, deur hul produktiewe vermoëns uit te brei, die aantal komplekse produkte wat hulle produseer kan verhoog. So word die ekonomiese groei op die langtermyn ondersteun en raak minder afhanklik van minerale bronne. As waarde tot rou minerale plaaslik bygevoeg kan word deur verder af te beweeg in spesifieke waardekettings, kan die ekonomiese en sosiale voordele vir sulke lande beduidend wees. Binne hierdie konteks ondersoek hierdie studie titaan in Suid-Afrika, as die land met een van die grootste titaanreserwebronne ter wêreld. Op grond van historiese ervaringe met beleide ten opsigte van veredeling, is dit duidelik dat sulke inisiatiewe dikwels misluk, en dat weldeurdagte benaderings nodig is om ń sodanige beleid te laat slaag. Hierdie studie het gepoog om spesifieke onontwikkelde teikensektore binne die titaniumwaardeketting te identifiseer wat die ontwikkelingsdoelwitte van die land kan ondersteun. Verder is daar gepoog om die belangrikste faktore te identifiseer wat nodig is om sodanige bedrywe suksesvol in die land te kan laat funksioneer. Die indentifikasie van sektore wat binne bereik en soortgelyk geag kan word aan die huidige produksie-strukture in Suid-Afrika terywl dit ook die ontwikkeling van vermoëns ondersteun om nuwe sektore te ontsluit, vorm die gronslag van die studie. Deur die titaniumwaardeketting te karteer met behulp van handelskodes en -data, word die omvang van Suid-Afrika se huidige voetspoor in die globale waardeketting beoordeel. Op grond van die resultate van hierdie evaluering word die mees belowende produkkategorieë waarop Suid-Afrika kan fokus, geïdentifiseer vir verdere ontleding. Op grond van die resultate word produkkategorieë soos stoomturbines en verfpigmente aanvanklik beskou as die kategorieë met die meeste potensiaal. By nadere ondersoek is stoomturbines geidentifiseer as die industrie met die grootste potensiaal. Die onderliggende struikelblokke wat gedurende die studie aan die lig gekom het, het gelei tot die verfyning van die aanvanklike evaluering van die titaniumwaardeketting. Groter klem is geplaas op Suid-Afrika se huidige produksie-struktuur. Dit het bevestig dat dit die moeite werd is om stoomturbines verder te ondersoek. Die geïdentifiseerde bedryf word beoordeel aan die hand van sleutelfaktore wat die wêreld se mededinging vir elk van die geïdentifiseerde bedrywe beïnvloed. Deur die sleutelfaktore te identifiseer kan spesifieke ingrypings wat nodig is, geïdentifiseer word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/109827
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