Speaking at a pre-Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Conference (PDAC) panel, Gwede Mantashe, South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, managed to mitigate some of the country’s dismal optics of late.

The discussion was themed: Driving Exploration and Industrialisation through Localisation to Grow Mineral Production. It provided an ideal platform for Mantashe to provide an update of recent developments and opportunities in the South African mineral sector.

He was quick to counter South Africa’s slide in terms of attracting investment. This had been highlighted in the latest Fraser Institute’s annual survey of mining companies. The report indicated the country as 60th out 77 in terms of investment attractiveness. Last year it was ranked 40th out of 76.

“With these figures in mind I am pleased to report that over the last three weeks we have welcomed investment in our industry and economy,” explained Mantashe.

The report also highlighted South Africa’s budgeted exploration spending hit a two decade low in 2020, and is less than 1% of global exploration spending.

In addition, the report indicated South Africa is at its lowest percentage share of all African exploration spending – down to 7.8% in 2020 from 35% in 2002. The country is now also ranked 11th of the 13 African countries included in the survey, ahead of only Zimbabwe and Tanzania and immediately behind the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“I invite the investors to partner with us as we work to place South Africa’s mining and energy sectors on an upward trend.”

He reaffirmed he is working to develop “a new competitive exploration strategy” that will target no less than 3% of global mining exploration expenditure.” This will be the country’s exploration blueprint to attract investments.

More good news for South Africa can be gleaned from the fact that precious metals producers have released a swathe of record results in recent weeks.