EC to get Africa’s first lithium ion battery mega-factory
25 November 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201917181
THE Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) will be the site of Africa’s first lithium ion battery mega-factory.
Nechan Naicker, Founder and CEO of The Megamillion Energy Company, made the announcement at the recent Batteries and Electric Vehicles conference at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth.
“Africa’s time has come. The Megamillion Energy Company will be Africa’s first large-scale producer of lithium ion batteries, making lithium ion batteries in Africa for Africa’s benefit first.”
Naicker added that producing lithium ion batteries on African soil made sense as all the critical minerals used in them were found abundantly in Africa.
“It doesn’t make sense that if sub-Saharan Africa has over 80% of the world’s manganese, over 60% of the world’s cobalt, the world’s largest reserves of fluorspar that the lithium ion battery value chain is not localised on African soil.
“Furthermore, localised minerals beneficiation and cell manufacturing will result in a lower overall cost of batteries, encouraging a greater penetration of affordable energy storage solutions throughout Africa.”
He said work word start in 2020 on the 20,000 m2 pilot plant at the Coega SEZ, “a scalable world-class 0,2GWh manufacturing facility” capable of producing about 10 million lithium ion cells per year.
“The main focus initially will be to produce affordable cells that can be used in energy storage systems throughout Africa. Working with technology partners and pioneers of the industry from Asia, the master plan is to scale up to a final factory output of 32GWh of cells per year by 2028, capable of producing cells for both the energy storage and electric vehicle markets.”
Over 400 hectares of special purpose land has been made available in Coega by the Department of Trade and Industry to accommodate the lithium ion battery value chain. This includes making the battery powders for Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt and Lithium-Manganese-Oxide battery chemistries, manufacturing individual cells, assembling battery packs, as well as recycling the end-of-life battery products.
Nechan said “over 3000 sustainable new upstream and downstream jobs will be created, further benefiting the region’s socio-economic landscape”.