At the beginning of 2020, Zutari started building a globally competitive, inclusive, environmentally sustainable and diversified economy for the people of the West Rand in Gauteng, in collaboration with Sibanye-Stillwater, Far West Rand Dolomitic Water Association, West Rand Development Agency (WRDA), Gauteng Infrastructure Financing Agency (GIFA), Talmar Impact Investments & Development, and Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH).
The seven partner firms intended to achieve this through facilitating large-scale, socio-economic empowerment in the area by converting 30,000 ha of land for agri-industrial and commercial purposes. The project will be ongoing for the next 15 to 20 years, and will require a level of collaboration in the industry that has never been seen before.
Job creation and enterprise development are two of the critical drivers of the project. Zutari is responsible for the programme management and controls functions; all engineering investigations, designs and implementation; stakeholder management and communication; environmental and land assessments; rezoning and town planning; and business case development. Zutari is also supporting Talmar to unlock funding and financing, and assisting CDH with the legal and governance workstreams.
Some of the challenges of the project include rising unemployment, funding, acid mine water, and the seamless integration of all the document, legal and financial controls that need to be executed. To overcome these challenges, the team developed an integrated digital execution plan that integrates all the design, planning, and financial management software packages from the partnering companies into a single system, as well as a holistic programme execution plan that incorporates all the document control processes and financial and legal governance requirements relevant to this project.
Community collaboration is a key part of the project to ensure that all the stakeholder needs are always taken into consideration and that the communities’ expectations are managed throughout the project lifecycle. There also needs to be a careful balance between what the different market needs are and what the spatial constraints of the area will allow. By first evaluating the three layers of human desirability, technical feasibility, and financial viability in isolation, and then finding the areas of overlap, solutions that are robust and sustainable can be developed.
The project will be ongoing for the next 15 to 20 years, and will require a level of collaboration in the industry that has never been seen before.
We are still in the very early stages of this multi-decade project, but some of the quick win projects will help us to create short-term momentum. Zutari is proud to be involved in this iconic, industry-changing project
Acid mine water caused by more than a century of mining in the area, needs to be transformed into potable, raw and agricultural water in a financially viable manner. Understanding what quality of water will be required for the multitude of different agro-industrial businesses that will be created, will allow the project team to effectively design water treatment facilities that are fit for purpose, have viable business cases, and will reduce the mines’ post-closure liabilities.
All funding and financing for the project need to be sourced by the project team, as there is no single client that can fund this project. The project team is following a multidimensional approach to unlock pre-development funding for the programme as a whole, grant funding and financing for the identified quick win projects and financing for the larger catalytic projects. The funding options that are being considered include multi-national grant funding agencies such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB), regional development agencies such as the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), banks and the private sector.
“We are still in the very early stages of this multi-decade project, but some of the quick win projects will help us to create short-term momentum. Zutari is proud to be involved in this iconic, industry-changing project,” says Pieter Scholtz, Zutari Technical Director.
*The Aurecon Africa business has been officially renamed Zutari as at 21 July 2020. Zutari acquired Aurecon Middle East on 20 November 2020.