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#MiningIndaba2019: Mantashe outlines SA's mining agenda

The Mining Charter has provided clarity for investors on what's expected of them, but there's still work to do if the industry is to help grow the economy.
Gwede Mantashe, minister of mineral resources. Photo: Mining Indaba
"The policy and legislative framework were marked with concern about uncertainty. That has been addressed and investors coming to South Africa now know what they need to do," said Gwede Mantashe, minister of mineral resources in his keynote address at the Investing in African Mining Indaba at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

The mining industry has been affected by the economic slowdown of the past decade. "Growth from the global financial crisis has been fragile and uneven and in order for us to do better, we must work harder. Mining is as good as the performance of the individual mines.”

He envisions an economic scenario where mining companies are more profitable and contribute more to gross domestic product (GDP). “We hope to build the mining sector's contribution to GDP up to 10% in the next five years.”

People over profit

The minister said the industry must ensure that it coexists with communities, and there needs to be a move away from the perception that mining is only destructive. He added that the time when companies where chasing profits primarily without considering labour and communities was gone. "The mining communities must be respected as that is where companies extract investment. They deserve to be respected," he said.

Separating mining from petroleum

“The responsibiiity of our ministry is explore and extract,” Mantashe said in relation to the process currently underway to separate mining from petroleum. To date, the charter guidelines have been gazetted and the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill has been withdrawn to separate oil and gas from the mining legislation.

Mine safety

“Mine safety is important to us. There was a spike [in incidence] in 2018, we must turn it around,” Mantashe said. Last year, the mining industry experienced several accidents and a high number of disasters resulting in multiple fatalities. As a result, the Mine Occupational Health and Safety Summit was held in October. The summit created a platform for all stakeholders to engage and come up with solutions that will assist the industry turn the tide with regards to fatalities, injuries and diseases.

In conclusion, Mantashe said: “South Africa is indeed open for business.”
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About Nicci Botha

Nicci Botha has been wordsmithing for more than 20 years, covering just about every subject under the sun and then some. She's strung together words on sustainable development, maritime matters, mining, marketing, medical, lifestyle... and that elixir of life - chocolate. Nicci has worked for local and international media houses including Primedia, Caxton, Lloyd's and Reuters. Her new passion is digital media.