CAPE TOWN, 5 February 2024 – President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a significant address at the 30th Investing in African Mining Indaba, held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The President commenced his speech by expressing condolences for the late President Hage Geingob of Namibia, highlighting Geingob’s role as a visionary leader promoting development.
President Ramaphosa reflected on the transformation of South Africa’s mining industry over the past 30 years, emphasizing the collaboration between government, industry, and labor in achieving sustainable changes. Notably, he pointed out the increase in black ownership from 2 percent in 2004 to approximately 39 percent today.
Acknowledging challenges, the President addressed global factors affecting mining performance, including commodity price volatility and geopolitical tensions. Domestically, energy crises, port and rail issues, illicit mining, and infrastructure vandalism pose additional obstacles.
President Ramaphosa outlined four key objectives to overcome these challenges:
- Secure Supply of Electricity: The Electricity Action Plan focuses on improving existing generation and adding new capacity. The government has secured 1,384 MW of new generation capacity, released requests for proposals for renewable energy, gas-to-power, and battery storage.
- Accelerate Economic Reforms: Reforms aim to optimize business operations, evident in the registration of 1,312 generation facilities with a combined capacity of over 6,300 MW. Major mining companies like Gold Fields and Anglo American are leveraging these reforms to reduce operational costs.
- Tackle Illegal Mining and Infrastructure Damage: Specialized police units, defense forces, and Mintek collaborate to combat illegal mining. The closure and sealing of ownerless and derelict mines continue, with plans to close an additional 352 shafts.
- Improve Regulatory Environment: A new cadastral system is in development to expedite mining rights administration and clear backlogs in prospecting and mining applications.
President Ramaphosa emphasized the theme of the Indaba, “embracing the power of positive disruption,” focusing on the global energy transition. He highlighted Africa’s potential to lead the energy transition, with minerals like manganese, iron ore, copper, cobalt, nickel, and platinum group metals playing a pivotal role.
The President concluded by discussing South Africa’s commitment to a just energy transition, outlining the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan. He called for collaboration between government and social partners, emphasizing the crucial role of the mining sector in achieving just outcomes.
In closing, President Ramaphosa invited industry collaboration to shape a future of inclusion, growth, transformation, and innovation in South African mining.