New York, USA — MININGREVIEW.COM — 11 March 2010 – South African mines minister Susan Shabangu says China has shown strong interest in investing in the country’s mining sector, and once again she re-assured investors there were no plans to nationalise mines.
China, Africa’s biggest emerging market partner, has been investing in the continent’s mining and energy sectors, and the minister said South Africa was a willing but cautious partner.
Addressing the Reuters Global Mining and Steel Summit here, Shabangu confirmed that there was a lot of interest from China. “They are interested in manganese, platinum, uranium and I would say almost every commodity,” she added. “But we are also cautious to see if their investment is going to benefit South Africa. It is critical for us to ensure our own interest is catered for.”
Shabangu pointed out that the Chinese were keen to invest in the processing of minerals in the country “’ a key priority of South Africa’s government, which hopes to extract as much value from its mines as possible, and to boost job creation.
She said investor appetite for South Africa’s mining sector, one of the country’s major employers, was high, and she was keen to attract just as many American investors as in mining peers Australia and Canada.
Shabangu admitted that investors had expressed concerns to her about talk of nationalising mines in South Africa. She gave the assurance that this was not government policy and would not happen. It was a debate being pushed by a minority.
“The mining sector as a whole is confident that we are not going that route. We can’t afford to take a wrong direction that’s not going to improve the quality of lives of our people,” she added.