SA guns for stake in global exploration budget

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe says South Africa is positioning itself to get a slice of the global exploration budget.

The Minister said this when he participated in a debate on the State of the Nation Address in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

“We intend to secure a minimum of 5% of the global exploration budget within the next three to five years. 

“Economic growth and employment are certain when inhibiting walls to exploration and prospecting are removed. 

“De Beers is already taking advantage of the opportunity availed by the Mining Charter 3 by reviving the exploration and prospecting projects they had withheld.”

Mantashe said a recent announcement by Total on the exploration in the Outeniqua Basin injected an investment of US $100 million into South Africa’s economy. 

The Council for Geoscience (CGS) is currently enhancing geological mapping to bring South Africa in line with progressive exploration and international mining jurisdictions.

The council is speeding up the exercise of delineating new mineral targets, while drilling and quantify the extent of mineralisation for sustainable development of mining, and identifying and affirming new mineralisation systems, consistent with a new demand trajectory of mineral resources, such as battery minerals. 

“There are new discoveries of uranium and coal in the Springbok flats, north of Pretoria,” the Minister said.

The CGS has recently hosted a conference of 450 engineers from the council, companies, universities, Venezuela, Nigeria, Europe and New Zealand. The conference was themed ‘Merging Maps for an Emerging Future’.  

Last week, major platinum producers launched the Platinum Sector Strategy for South Africa to ensure the sector realises its full value, a move Mantashe said stood to add more than one million jobs and contribute R8.2 trillion to the economy in the long-term.

Companies should invest in areas they mine

Mantashe said, meanwhile, that healthy coexistence of mining with communities is vital for its long-term sustainability.

“Companies should collaborate with and invest in impactful projects beyond the life of mines, for communities to thrive and to trust them.

“We have renewed focus in community development and the implementation of social and labour plans, as outlined in Mining Charter 3. Well-organised communities are beginning to benefit. 

“Unfortunately, where communities are at loggerheads, they lose out due to delays and destruction of the wealth accrued,” he said.

Mantashe said his department is in talks with Police Minister Bheki Cele on solutions to illegal mining.

“Mining companies are also consulted on partnering with government on this task. This criminal activity run by syndicates robs our economy of billions in GDP losses,” he said. –