Jacques Barradas, partner and head of mining at Grant Thornton Johannesburg, comments on the Minister of Mineral Resources, Mosebenzi Zwane’s address at Mining Indaba 2018.
Overall comment / insight
“Yesterday’s opening address by Minister Zwane lacked hard substance which was unfortunate.
“The mining community wanted to hear direction and resolution to some significant issues in the South African context but nothing came forth in his speech.”
On supposed “conservatism” in the mining sector
“Minister Zwane has noted that ‘the spring in mining is indeed blossoming into a summer.’
“Minister Zwane further added that new projects and exploration has not come on stream as yet due to the conservatism of the market.
“My opinion is that this conservatism is due to the lack of direction by the government for the mining sector. In my view the mining industry needs government direction and certainty in order for them to invest into new projects.”
On driving beneficiation and manufacturing
“We applaud Minister Zwane’s call for the mining industry to lead a drive for the beneficiation and manufacturing of the metals being mined in South Africa.
“This is exactly what South Africa needs to assist with the huge unemployment rate in the economy.
“But the industry also needs government to give the incentives for this to occur.
“We need to see that government is serious about the incentives by driving big projects to showcase these initiatives.”
On South Africa’s stable energy supply
“Minister Zwane reiterated that South Africa’s energy supply has stabilized and there is sufficient capacity for new enterprises.
“This news is pleasing but we are still worried about the issues currently being experienced by Eskom.
“These concerns are worrying and investors or prospective new projects will demand more certainty for pricing and generation capacity for the long term.”
On South Africa’s “open-door” policy to new developments
“During his presentation Minister Zwane mentioned that there is an ‘open-door policy’ to prioritize the promotion of good working relations with the right holders.
“We believe that Department of Mineral Resources needs to demonstrate this more visibly going forward, particularly with all stakeholders on issues such as the Mining Charter III which was announced last year.
“The reaction to the minister’s unilateral implementation of the Mining Charter last year did not inspire confidence.
“In fact, we believe that foreign investor confidence was impacted by this implementation process.”
Feature image credit: Webber Wentzel