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  • December 26, 2009
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The Saldanha Bay Municipality comprises the towns of Saldanha, Vredenburg, St Helena Bay, Stompneusbaai, Paternoster, Jacobsbaai, Hopefield and Langebaan. Although the municipal area includes agricultural land that produces excellent dairy, honey, wheat and canola, the area is best known for its fish and for its harbour.

The Port of Saldanha exports about 24 million tonnes of iron ore annually, as well as steel, metal concentrates and other commodities. About 3.2 million tonnes of crude oil is imported. In addition, the bulk of South Africa’s strategic oil reserves are stored at Saldanha. The three major terminals cater for oil, ore and marine repairs. There is also a fabrication site and a small-craft harbour.

On the back of a decision by MAN Ferrostaal to invest heavily in an oil tanker and platform fabrication and repair plant, Saldanha has been identified as a node for industrial development, with particular emphasis on the steel industry.

The original port of Saldanha near the town services the trawler fleets of several fishing companies. Premier Fishing has a fish-meal plant in the area and Sea Harvest runs a large cold-storage facility.

Saldanha is surrounded by natural beauty. Just around the lagoon is the popular holiday town of Langebaan and, to the south of the entrance to Saldanha Bay, is the 30 000-hectare West Coast National Park. This is one of most popular viewing areas for the annual show put on by nature in the first weeks of spring, the blooming of the wild flowers. To the north is the quaint fishing village of Paternoster and the Columbine Nature Reserve, from where whales are often spotted.

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