This is creating a demand for coal and resource companies are responding quickly to this need, investing in new equipment and opening new mines.
More than 80% of South Africa’s coal is sourced in Mpumalanga, with the town of Witbank being the centre of the industry.
A binational commission (the Komati Basin Water Authority) that oversees water issues with Swaziland and a recently signed tourism branding initiative known as Tri-lands (with Swaziland and Mozambique) are indicative of this trend.
It has signed memoranda of understanding with Oman, a gateway to the markets of the Middle East; and Portugal, a partner in the Mpumalanga Academy of Sport, which aims to be a worldclass centre for talented athletes, coaches and administrators.
The province’s rich agricultural produce is used by companies such as Mc Cain, Nestlé and Pepsi Co and there are also pulp and paper plants (Sappi and Mondi), fertiliser facilities and textile-manufacturing concerns.
The decision by Sappi to start producing chemical cellulose at its Ngodwana Mill will significantly increase the manufacturing capacity of the province.
The Maputo Development Corridor is a transportation corridor comprising road, rail, border posts, port and terminal facilities, running from Pretoria in Gauteng through Mpumalanga to the Port of Maputo in Mozambique.
The corridor supports high volumes of cross-border freight services and aims to boost trade within and beyond the region.
Among the key aspects for future growth identified by the province’s leaders at economic summits are: A special conference dealing with infrastructure and tourism was held after the Soccer World Cup where a number of local and foreign investors were introduced to a variety of projects that, if successful, will boost the local economy and increase employment opportunities.
Mpumalanga’s 11 coal-fired power stations, mostly located near the extensive coalfields in the west, provide the bulk of South Africa’s electrical power.
South Africa needs more power to drive its economy and so several of these power stations are being returned to service after a period of inactivity or are having their capacity increased.
Differences in temperature and rainfall between the Highveld and Lowveld can be considerable.
Large parts of the province are located in the so- called Middleveld comprising high-plateau grasslands.
Forestry operations are found in central and south-eastern Mpumalanga, but the heart of this important industry is around Sabie.