SECUNDA, SOUTH AFRICA– Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has encouraged investors to invest in South Africa so that the country can reach the levels of growth needed to meaningfully decrease levels of unemployment and poverty.

Addressing the launch of the world’s first oxygen production plant costing 200 million euros in this town set in the coalfields of Mpumalanga province on Monday, she said the government welcomed the investment and the partnership which that south Africa’s Sasol Limited has with Air Liquide of France as the country seeks to build its productive capacity and capability.

Sasol, an integrated energy and chemical company, was formed in 1950 in Sasolburg, about 150 kilometres from herein Free State Province and is the world’s first oil-from-coal company For Air Liquide, a leading industrial gas producer, this project is its largest investment of its kind outside Europe.

This occasion marks one of the great strides in our ongoing efforts as a country to encourage both local and international investments to grow the economy, and ultimately improve the lives of South Africans, Molewa said.

She added that the greenfield investment would make a meaningful contribution to a cleaner environment by consuming less electricity and reducing carbon emissions.

I have been reliably informed that this new air separation unit uses 20 per cent less electricity which equates to avoiding approximately 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per annum. The unit has capacity to produce 5,000 tons of oxygen per day, she said.

The addition of this new plant will improve the ability to supply oxygen and argon to the industrial gas market in South Africa.

Molewa said the investment will also address the challenges associated with climate change. Over and above, the socio-economic benefits, the establishment of this plant holds profound environmental benefits for Sasol and the country and the rest of the world, in the long-term. This development will most certainly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and create a healthier and cleaner environment for all our people,” she noted.

As the world moves more rapidly towards the development of a cleaner and greener economy that promote the principles of sustainable development, there is a need to ensure efficient utilisation of resources, particularly our natural resources.”