By Sam Sole for amaBhungane
The development of a coal-burning, water-guzzling industrial zone is a potential threat to the roughly 18-million people in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique who depend on the Limpopo river watershed.
An introduction carried on the website for the Chinese-led “Energy and Metallurgical Special Economic Zone” (EMSEZ) in Northern Limpopo lists the range of heavy industries planned.
They include a coal washing plant capable of processing 20 million tonnes per annum, a coal-fired power plant of 3,300MW, a coking coal plant, a ferrochrome plant, a ferromanganese plant, a stainless-steel plant, a lime plant and a titanium dioxide plant.
See Limpopo’s dirty great white elephant, Limpopo’s dirty white elephant part 2: the dodgy designation and The dirty white elephant part 3: Limpopo – the weakest link, for more on the extraordinary genesis of this project.
The EMSEZ introduction helpfully notes, “Limpopo river is 30 kilometer away from the SEZ which is the important water source for the SEZ”.
But the reality is the river is already overstretched.