In his address at Mining Indaba in South Africa, President Ramaphosa challenged the mining industry to take steps to implement what he called “10 value-adding principles”.
Supplied by the Minerals Council South Africa
In his response, president of the Minerals Council South Africa Mxolisi Mgojo, said, “I believe that our industry would be at fault if it did not respond to the President’s challenge.
“We must not only respond to President Ramaphosa, but also continue to engage with him, with government and with other stakeholders on how we can best contribute to this great country of ours by “making mining matter.”
Challenge 4: To invest in education and training
“In 2018, the mining sector invested R7 billion in skills development and education. In addition to the minimum 1% of payroll spent on skills training for employees in terms of the Skills Development Act the mining sector also spends 5% of payroll on skills development in terms of the Mining Charter.
“A large proportion of the estimated R2 billion spent annually on corporate social investment is directed at education and training. From employee and community literacy and numeracy training, to providing community members with skills to join the job market, to the funding of sophisticated tertiary education projects, the industry that founded what was to become South Africa’s largest university as a mining college more than 120 years ago continues to maintain that educational development focus.
“This is over and above the direct training that companies provide to their employees.
“With over 5,000 students supported by the industry via bursaries and scholarships in universities and the subvention of lecturer salaries at mining universities, the industry is contributing a share higher than any other sector to skills development and education.”
Challenge 5: To partner with training colleges to provide work experience for students and contribute to Curricula development
Mxolisi referred to how the Minerals Council had discussed with the Department of Higher Education and Training how the organisation could assist Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.
Minerals Council members nominated 17 people to sit on the boards of TVET colleges and donations of equipment were made. He said, “Further work needs to be done to create a much more vibrant and successful TVET system, with all role players involved.”
Challenge 6: To embrace beneficiation
Mxolisi said, “The modern South African economy was built on upstream and downstream beneficiation related to the mining sector. There is a significant supplier base providing services, equipment and capital goods to the mining sector.
“There is also over R200 billion in extra value created in the downstream sectors that beneficiate the minerals we mine. For example, over 90% of cement, 80% of steel, 50% of chemical and plastic feed stocks and 30% of liquid fuels are fabricated in South Africa using locally-mined minerals. Some 9% of the world’s platinum catalytic converters used in cars are made here in South Africa.
“However, policy and regulatory uncertainty, rapid increases in electricity costs and the uncertainty of electricity prices and supply going forward to 2050, have materially curtailed competitiveness and future investment. This has even resulted in South African mining companies building smelters offshore.
“Our plea to government is let’s really focus on making the beneficiation and manufacturing sectors much more globally competitive and investment will materially flow in reply to President Ramaphosa.”