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South Africa Boosts Mining with Major Sector Revitalization Efforts

Webinar Outlines Plans to Increase Global Exploration Investments

by Adenike Adeodun

On May 17, 2024, an important webinar unfolded, shedding light on the concerted efforts of South Africa’s major industry bodies to rejuvenate the nation’s mining sector. The Minerals Council South Africa, Council for Geoscience, and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) collectively voiced their strategies and plans during this event, which was meticulously covered by Martin Creamer of Mining Weekly.

The webinar, which brought together key figures from these organizations, underscored a unified approach to revitalizing mining exploration in South Africa—a sector that once thrived but has seen a decline in recent years. The event was hosted by Grant Mitchell, the Junior Mining Desk manager at the Minerals Council, and attracted an online audience of 120 stakeholders.

The urgency of restoring growth to South Africa’s mining industry, which currently attracts less than 1% of global exploration investment, was a central theme. Participants agreed on the need for robust systems to foster sector growth, which offers significant economic and employment benefits.

Mzila Mthenjane, CEO of the Minerals Council South Africa, emphasized the critical role of mining in South Africa’s transition to a low-carbon future. He highlighted the necessity of understanding the country’s mineral landscape to leverage these resources for sustainable development. “To be able to do that, it’s important that we have a very good understanding of the landscape of our minerals across the breadth and depth of the country,” Mthenjane stated.

The speakers addressed various facets necessary for the resurgence of mining activities. These included enhancing administrative efficiency in government departments related to mining and exploration, improving the cadastral system for prompt processing of exploration applications, and securing adequate financing for exploration ventures.

Siyabonga Mahlangu, IDC Junior Mining Fund executive, and Errol Smart, CEO of Orion Minerals and chairperson of the Junior Exploration & Mining Leadership Forum, discussed the entrepreneurial challenges faced by junior miners. They concurred that exploration, much like any entrepreneurial venture, requires substantial support and innovative financing solutions.

Mosa Mabuza, CEO of the Council for Geoscience, called for a more integrated approach in government functions to facilitate the mining and exploration processes. “It’s important that we look to the future in terms of the growth of the industry and this is where exploration becomes absolutely critical,” Mabuza explained.

The webinar also served as a platform for Mark Ferguson, director of minerals research at S&P Global, who provided crucial statistics on exploration investment, further illustrating the global context in which South Africa’s mining industry operates.

The discussion concluded on a hopeful note, with stakeholders expressing optimism about the potential for significant investment inflows into the sector within the next six to twelve months. This sentiment was particularly poignant as Mthenjane remarked, “What I’m really expecting is that we come away with a much better understanding of where we are as a country in the industry… what its prospects are not too far from now.”

Furthermore, the webinar highlighted the importance of upcoming measures and the pivotal role that these efforts will play in the broader context of economic recovery and sustainability. The collective voice of the webinar was clear: substantial and sustained investment, coupled with strategic planning and execution, is essential for the revival of South Africa’s mining sector.

As the mining industry stands at a crossroads, the concerted efforts of these key bodies, combined with supportive policies and innovative financial mechanisms, are critical to paving the way forward. The stakeholders’ commitment to addressing these challenges head-on provides a beacon of hope for the industry’s future. This initiative not only aims to enhance South Africa’s position on the global mining stage but also to ensure that the mining sector can once again be a cornerstone of the country’s economy.


Source: Mining Weekly

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