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A Richards Bay-based desalination plant has begun processing hundreds of kilolitres of salt water to ease the shortage of drinkable water caused by the current drought. This plant is part of a R72m special public-private sector deal between a private company, South32, the KwaZulu-Natal department of economic development, tourism and environmental affairs, along with water utility Umhlathuze Water and Umhlathuze Local Municipality. The plant has begun desalinating water abstracted from the local Manzamnyama Canal, in a pilot project. The water is then processed to separate salt and other minerals to yield fresh, drinkable water. Michael Fraser, the CEO of South32, said they were excited about the project because the technology used to desalinate sea water could be the answer to SA’s water challenges, especially as the country faces one of the worst droughts in a generation. Fraser said the plant was commissioned two months ago and was now able to produce more than 100m³ of treated wa...

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