Inaugural Mining Industry Conference In Johannesburg
SOUTH AFRICA’S mining industry would start to regain its international competitiveness over the next two years as existing constraints were being addressed, according to Minister of Mineral Resources Susan Shabangu. Addressing the inaugural Mining Lekgotla in Johannesburg, Sibiya said that the interests of South Africa and its people needed to be the foremost consideration in mining.
Shabangu was due to speak at the opening of the Mining Lekgotla industry conference, but was still making her way from Washington where she attended a meeting of the Kimberley Process Diamond Scheme. Her speech was delivered by the department’s Deputy Director General for Mineral Regulation Joel Raphela.
(South Africa’s Mines Minister, Susan Shabangu)
Addressing the inaugural Mining Lekgotla in Johannesburg, Sibiya said that the interests of South Africa and its people needed to be the foremost consideration in mining.
“When the white people and the black people come together ‘desiring neither money nor power’”, a quotation from Alan Paton’s bestseller Cry the Beloved Country, “then mining magic is going to happen,” Sibiya said.
He spoke shortly before National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) president Senzeni Zokwana told the Lekgotla that black and white South Africans could together build a better future by making mining a changed industry.
Shabangu said the state had recognised that a number of “binding” obstacles, including the shortage of infrastructure such as rail, port capacity, water and energy, were hindering the growth and competitiveness of the industry according too MiningWeekly.
“The announcement of a multi-year infrastructural programme [earlier in 2012]….was a key breakthrough,” Shabangu said. “I am convinced that, as the binding constraints on the operational side of the industry ease over the next year or two, South African mining is destined to regain its competitiveness.”
She said the country has already seen improvements in respect of the 2011 Fraser Institute mineral competitive index, which ranked South Africa 54 out of 93 countries, an improvement of 13 places compared with 2010.
Chamber of Mines VP and AngloGold Ashanti CEO Mark Cutifani added that South Africa, with its rich mineral endowment, had the opportunity to be the most important and the most competitive mining industry in the world.
“We have the opportunity to create the new South Africa, which includes economic reparation for all,” Cutifani added.
The mining industry, he said, was one of the country’s key platforms for growth.
Anglo American Platinum CEO Neville Nicolau said that it was important that issues facing the South African mining industry were brought to the table of the Lekgotla, an annual scenario-based process.
“Addressing the problems is what will take us forward,” he said.
South Africa was still ranked a lowly 54th out of 93 global mining countries as an investment destination, despite having lifted 13 notches in the latest table.
“That is a real problem for a country endowed in mineral resources as South Africa is endowed,” he added.
TSC Advisory partner Rick Menell, the former head of South African mining major Anglovaal that formed the basis of the creation of the JSE-listed black-controlled African Rainbow Minerals, said a good approach to deal with the issues of the South African mining industry would be to highlight and exaggerate the fact that “we are in a crisis”.
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