Perth, Australia — MININGREWVIEW.COM — 03 September 2009 – The underlying motivation driving the proposed state-owned mining company was security of the supply of coal and uranium, said South African minister of mineral resources Susan Shabangu.
Interviewed by Miningmx at the Africa Down Under conference here, Shabangu said the South African government’s intention was that the state would operate its own mines producing coal and uranium. This would follow an initial audit of the government’s various interests in the South African mining industry held either directly, as with diamond producer Alexkor, or through equity stakes in private sector companies.
“It is very important that the state has a strategic involvement in coal and uranium mining. This has long been part of our strategy, and does not result from last year’s power supply problems," Shabangu said.
“Obviously, these mining operations must be done competitively and efficiently. We must have the right skills and the right management. The proposed state mines cannot be run on the basis of a lack of competition, she added.
Asked whether the state should be involved in mining at all “’ given its poor track record with State-owned diamond miner Alexkor “’Shabangu blamed previous private sector operators for the problems. She alleged that Alexkor had been “deliberately run down by private operators trying to make it a cheaper asset,” and said Alexkor had now been returned to profitability.
Shabangu revealed that her department should be able to present its plans for the state mining company to the South African cabinet in the first quarter of 2010.