LEVERAGING access to primary molten aluminium from the nearby Hillside smelter, Bingelela Alloys realised the beginnings of a vision to establish a sustainable downstream aluminium hub with the official launch of its facility at the Richards Bay Alton site on August 28.
Established in 2018, Bingelela Alloys is a 100% black-owned entity which focuses on aluminium alloy production. Its affiliation with Isizinda Aluminium, led by Bingelela Capital, stems from its acquisition of the Bayside Casthouse from BHP Billiton (now South32).
Distinguished guests attending the launch included the deputy minister of trade, industry and competition, Nomalungelo Gina, and Umhlathuze mayor, Xolani Ngwezi. Gina’s speech touched on South Africa’s engagement with the EU’s carbon border adjustment mechanism and its impact on local exporters. This mechanism targets emissions-intensive sectors to cut emissions by 55% by 2030. She emphasised the challenges tied to the stringent EU measures and the need for discussions and international support for local green initiatives.
A South African Aluminium Roadmap report commissioned by the DTIC, and AFSA (Aluminium Federation of South Africa) described a sustainable Hillside smelter as being a “game changer” to grow downstream value-added products.
AFSA CEO, Muzi Manzi, emphasised collaboration at the launch. AFSA’s vision was realised through stakeholders like South32, Hulamin, and government bodies, leading to a new roadmap phase.
The roadmap highlights recycling aluminium scrap metal for the value chain. Industry support for the DTIC’s efforts has led to scrap processing firms generating over 400 jobs. AFSA plans to update the roadmap to acknowledge achievements and outline future strategies.
Manzi called on the government and partners like Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone to sustain support for productive sectors. AFSA commits to fostering manufacturing projects like Bingelela Alloys, contributing significantly to job creation.
Hillside vice president of operations (South 32), Calvin Mkhabela, highlighted Hillside Aluminium’s support for Bingelela’s goals and commitment to collaborating with stakeholders for Richards Bay’s downstream aluminium hub. The smelter contributed 18.4% to the local GDP, generating R33.9 billion in revenue (0.7% of SA’s GDP). Hillside sustained 7,000 direct jobs, 28,900 indirect jobs, and 55,700 dependents, investing R200 million in FY23 for local skills, economic development, education, and healthcare.
Chairman, Sipho Zikode expressed enthusiasm, highlighting the company’s commitment to youth employment. He emphasised the company’s role as a supplier to the automotive sector, having employed 26 young professionals and planning further expansion.
Bingelela Alloys CEO, Sizwe Khumalo, thanked South32 and Hulamin for their partnership and belief in the company’s vision. “The company feels privileged to be part of the supply chain and looks forward to enhancing collaboration.”
Khumalo also extended thanks to automotive OEMs for their collaboration, driving innovation and growth, particularly their approval of wheels made from Bingelela Alloy’s post-consumer product mix. This represents a significant stride towards making the product more environmentally sustainable.
The launch marks a new era of growth, innovation, and collaboration for Bingelela Alloys. The company’s dedication to economic progress and social betterment resonates in Richards Bay and beyond. With a strategic vision and solid foundation, Bingelela Alloys is poised to shape South Africa’s aluminium industry’s future.