Minerals Council, Geoscience, IDC going all out to boost South African exploration

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – A collective effort was apparent on Friday…

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – A collective effort was apparent on Friday when Minerals Council South Africa, the Council for Geoscience and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) spoke on the same platform to promote a return to growth in the shrinking South African mining industry.

Minerals Council South Africa CEO Mzila Mthenjane, Council for Geoscience CEO Mosa Mabuza, Junior Exploration & Mining Leadership Forum chairperson Errol Smart, who is also the CEO of Orion Minerals, IDC junior mining fund’s Siyabonga Mahlangu and many others showed common thought and vision on what must be done.

This was expressed in a webinar that was facilitated by Minerals Council Junior Mining Desk manager Grant Mitchell and attended online by 120 people.

Junior miners numbering 38 make up more than half of the membership of the Minerals Council, an employer policy promoting organization representing 90% of South African mining by value.

There was overwhelming concurrence that South Africa currently attracting below 1% of global exploration investment must end with the help of working systems that return growth in a sector that has multiple economic and employment benefits.

“As a country, we are certainly going to be one of the key players in the move to transition to a low carbon future and need to extract critical minerals that are going to be necessary for us to be able to move forward and achieve a low-carbon future,” Mthenjane highlighted.

“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.

“We need to begin to prepare our industry in terms of juniors to be able to play a role in that and to ensure the enabling factors are in place.

“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.

“We need to ensure that all the elements are aligned from administration of the law in terms of the various government departments and how they function together to enable mining and exploration to happen.

“The cadastral system must enable very efficient processing of exploration applications.

“Financing is going to be critical. Let’s not forget that exploration is also an entrepreneurial venture, and it’s faced with pretty much the same challenges as any other entrepreneur.

“But we’ve seen some positive moves towards that with the IDC fund. But we need much more if you look at the scope of exploration that’s going to be required.

“With that, I think we will begin to see the mining industry grow again in South Africa.

“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.

 “But I think in the next six to 12 months we can really begin to see investment coming through, and I should also mention that this webinar is coming at quite an important time,” Mthenjane told the event at which S&P Global minerals research director Mark Ferguson provided valuable exploration investment statistics.

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