CAPE TOWN (miningweekly.com) – Minerals Minister Susan Shabangu on Tuesday made a strong plea for the mining industry to throw its full weight behind the National Development Plan (NDP), which is winning widespread national support and which commits the government to the creation of a thriving South African mining industry in close partnership with the private sector.
Speaking at the Investing in African Mining Indaba, Shabangu also urged the country to begin putting its best foot forward in anticipation of its selection to host what is being dubbed the World Cup of Geology, the upcoming thirty-fourth International Geological Congress, which will showcase the African continent’s geological treasure trove in Cape Town in 2016.
Another international accolade singled out by the Minister was South Africa’s current prestigious chairing of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, designed to keep blood diamonds out of the market.
She invited the 7 500 delegates attending the indaba to partner South Africa in its quest to build the mining industry of the future that would give practical effect to the assertion that Africa’s time had come.
She flashed on the screen the resolutions taken at the elective conference of the African National Congress (ANC) at Mangaung in December, which made it patently clear how firmly South Africa had turned its back on nationalising the mining industry, and urged delegates to access the ANC website in order to get the full detail for themselves.
“I trust that this will bring certainty to our mining industry,” the Minister said.
She said that government was fully conscious of the reality that mineral development could not happen unless the private sector invested its capital.
“There is room for both private and public returns, indeed these are interdependent,” she added.
The State’s direct involvement would be through the State-owned mining company, African Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation, which would hive itself off from the State’s Central Energy Fund by mid-year.
Mining Legislation Clarified
The government had embarked on a process of reviewing the mining legislative framework through the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill process, in consultation with members of the public.
“We urge stakeholders and interested parties to make their submissions, both formal and informal,” Shabangu said.
Government's focus was on removing ambiguities in the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, which previously created room for a multiplicity of interpretations and to strengthen administrative processes.
The intention was to timeline the lodgement of applications; to strengthen provisions relating to cession; to effect transfer and partitioning of rights, as well as to introduce a provision to promote mineral beneficiation.
Licensing would be integrated and processed quicker in a new process that was expected to herald a significant improvement in service delivery and security of tenure when mining or prospecting rights were issued.
Government had increased funding for the Council for Geoscience to enhance the geoscientific knowledge and infrastructure of the country.
The recent discovery of a noteworthy shale gas deposit was testimony to the value of geoscientific knowledge.
Infrastructure was also a critical component of minerals and mining development, which, as a result saw it feature highly in the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission's (PICC's) scope of work. The PICC comprises key Cabinet Ministers and meets with government officials from across the relevant spheres of government.