Public to comment on draft beneficiation strategy

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Johannesburg - The Department of Minerals and Energy has invited the public to comment on the department's draft beneficiation strategy which aims to transform the mining industry from being a resource based to a knowledge based industry.

Addressing the media at the launch of the draft strategy on Tuesday, Acting Deputy Director-General for mineral policy and promotion, Musa Mabuza said the strategy had been formed to create an environment for effective value addition of South Africa's minerals.

Within the mining industry, there has been limited value addition or beneficiation of some of the commodities produced in this country.

South Africa has often followed the trends of other emerging producer countries which tend to supply western countries with primary ores at relatively low prices.

These ores are then processed in those countries to finished goods which are then imported back into South Africa at high prices.

According to the department, South Africa loses on the revenue that it desperately needs to address socio-economic challenges but also; it becomes too expensive for South Africa to re-import finished goods that have been processed elsewhere in the world.

This beneficiation intervention strategy seeks to fundamentally change behaviour in order to facilitate an enabled beneficiation environment for affected minerals.

Some of the affected minerals include gold, platinum group metals, chrome, iron ore, manganese and heavy minerals.

Mr Mabuza said if the draft strategy is adopted it will increase the value of minerals thereby contributing to South Africa's economic growth as well as job creation.

He further said: "The intention is not a legislative move, it's a policy shift which draws from [existing] legislation."

Among some of the legislation, the draft draws from the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act of 2002 as well as the Mining Charter.

The strategy, he said, is further aligned to broader national objectives including the Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa.

The due date for comments to be submitted has not yet been decided.

"In terms of the process what we proposed is that stakeholders make their submissions. We had set the end of April as the closing date but we are still going to deliberate on that mindful of how short the month is and the number of holidays and political activities," said Mr Mabuza.

Once comments about the strategy have been made, the strategy will then be taken to Cabinet for approval.