CAPE TOWN, ICC – 05 FEBRUARY 2024 – In his opening remarks at the 30th Investing in Africa Mining Indaba, the Honourable Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Mr Gwede Mantashe, welcomed delegates and distinguished guests, emphasizing the theme: “Embracing the power of positive disruption: A bold new future for African mining.”
Reflecting on the challenges faced in 2023, Minister Mantashe acknowledged the impact of international and domestic factors on Africa’s mining industry. Despite headwinds such as high energy prices, inflation, and logistical bottlenecks, the South African mining sector demonstrated resilience, making a significant contribution to the country’s GDP in the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2023.
The minister highlighted substantial investments in new and extended mining operations over the past five years. Projects such as Nkwe Platinum, Mokala Manganese Mine, and Menar’s coal and anthracite ventures showcase the sector’s diversification across various minerals.
To ensure regulatory certainty, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) is implementing a modern mining licensing system. Minister Mantashe expressed optimism in the PMG Consortium’s ability to enhance efficiency and transparency in managing prospecting and mining rights permits.
Addressing the licensing backlog, the DMRE granted numerous prospecting and mining rights, renewals, amendments, and permits, with a commitment to eliminating the backlog within the current calendar year.
Minister Mantashe announced the official launch of the country’s exploration fund, in partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). This fund aims to catalyze mineral discoveries, including rare earth-bearing minerals like lithium, coltan, and phosphate in various regions.
Acknowledging the energy-intensive nature of mining, the minister outlined interventions to address electricity supply constraints. He cited progress since the removal of the licensing threshold for embedded generation, leading to the registration of 1,312 generation facilities, 32% of which support the mining load.
With a focus on energy solutions, Minister Mantashe detailed the procurement of new generation capacity, including nuclear, renewable energy, and gas-to-power projects. The updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) has been gazetted for public comments, demonstrating the government’s commitment to resolving energy constraints and supporting economic growth.
As the Mining Indaba unfolds, Minister Mantashe urged collective efforts to build an African mining industry prioritizing health and safety, local beneficiation, and support for a just energy transition. The call to work towards the Africa We Want, free of poverty, unemployment, and inequality, resonates with the continent’s shared objectives for 2063.
Minister Mantashe expressed gratitude, setting an optimistic tone for collaborative efforts to make the African mining industry a formidable global competitor.