Lucky Star factories reduce reliance on municipal water supply and more than 2000 jobs secured
(St Helena Bay) 11 July, 2018 – The Oceana Group, Africa’s largest fishing company, has opened two desalination plants on South Africa’s West Coast as part of securing more than 2000 jobs and ensuring water security for two local factories. The company has invested over R30 million as part of the initiative to maintain operations of their cannery and fishmeal processing plants in St Helena Bay and Laaiplek.
At a christening ceremony with local, provincial and national government officials, media and other stakeholders, the Chairman of Oceana, Mr Mustaq Brey, unveiled the official names of the desalination plants – Vukuzenzele Amanzi at St Helena Bay and Umthombo Wethemba at Laaiplek translated as “make water yourself” and “fountain of hope”, respectively. “As a company that originated in Lambert’s Bay, not far from St Helena Bay, we are proud of our 100-year heritage and origins on the West Coast. We look forward to 100 more years of creating shared value in the region.”
R30 million investment
The development of the two desalination plants and ancillary equipment was completed with the support of ImproChem Pty Limited (desalination technology supplier), Eskom (transformer), and several local suppliers and installers of piping, pumps and tanks. Between them, the desalination facilities can produce up to 1.4-million litres of potable water per day, complemented by two 1-million litre and one 500 000 litre storage tanks. The new plants created approximately 40 jobs during the construction phase, as well as seven new jobs to operate and maintain the desalination equipment. The investment will also contribute to the water security for the communities of St Helena Bay and Laaiplek.
“As a global food producer, we have a profound appreciation of natural resources – including water – and the need to manage them responsibly,” said Imraan Soomra, Interim CEO of the Ocean Group. “The investment in these plants is part of our sustainability focus and ensuring the livelihoods of Oceana’s most valued resource, our people.”
The two desalination plants will help to reduce Oceana’s usage of local water supplied by the municipality, thereby enabling the local municipality to improve its water allocation efficiency.
Water efficiency measures
The two factories equipped with the desalination plants produce more than 400 million servings of South Africa’s iconic Lucky Star canned pilchards annually, an affordable protein source for many in the country and increasingly, the broader continent. Since June last year, Oceana has reduced water consumption between 30% to 40% at its factories in St Helena Bay and Laaiplek. Initiatives have included switching from using potable water to seawater, wherever possible, and re-using waste heat condensate for cleaning.