Ramaphosa says plans are afoot to seal abandoned mines

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has told delegates at this year’s Mining Indaba that South Africa plans to seal abandoned and derelict mines, in a bid to clamp down on illegal mining and attract investments in the sector.

Over the next three years, the country plans to close 352 shafts targeted by illegal miners and copper cable thieves. Ramaphosa delivered the keynote address at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town.

About 10 000 delegates have gathered in Cape Town for the 30th anniversary of the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba. The event seeks to foster partnerships and investment in the continent’s mining sector.

Delegates say the high energy prices, high inflation and lower commodity prices have held the sector back. The sector is also battling rising incidents of destruction of public infrastructure and illegal mining.

“The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, through Mintek, continues to seal ownerless and derelict mines. Since 2019, the department has closed and sealed 251 derelict holes and shaft. Over the next three years, the department intends to close a further 352 shafts. Criminal activity, and copper cable theft, in particular, has had a serious impact on key rail freight corridors, including the supply of coal for export through Richards Bay. Cooperation between the private sector, Transnet and the security services has resulted in an improvement in the security situation over recent months,” says Ramaphosa.

New entrants in the sector have lambasted government’s slow pace to issue new mining licenses due to its ageing system. Last week, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) announced plans to invest in the new and efficient mining license system.

“In order to ensure regulatory certainty in the South African mining industry, the DMRE has procured a service provider for the design, implementation and maintenance of a mining licensing system to enhance efficiency and transparency in the application, granting, and management of prospecting, and mining rights permits. We are optimistic that the PMG Consortium will deliver the required system that will assist in the operation of a modern and effective mining rights administration system,” says Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe.

Video: Investing in African Mining Indaba – President Ramaphosa delivers keynote address

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Organisers of the Mining Indaba say strides have been made to attract new investments in the sector.

“Very key is that we talk about limited exploration and how are we going to address that, the lack of infrastructure in Africa is another major challenge that we are dealing with on various fronts. How are we going to work to get that infrastructure in place to build new mines in Africa and the minerals rights issuing, exploration rights issues there are slow turnaround across the continent and South Africa is no stranger to that,” says Mining Indaba organiser Laura Cornish.

Delegates have welcomed government’s commitments and are hoping that these plans will translate into action post the 2024 general elections.

“We are now at that point and juncture where we can go forward, or we can go backward. The president mentioned a lot of issues touching on key socioeconomic challenges we have as well as investments and infrastructure challenges that we have but there is a plan, there is a vision to go forward and I think his reflections as upbeat as they are and we know it’s an election year and we need to be positive; I think we stand on firm ground,” says Thabani Mlilo, MD: Moahi Sustainable Solutions.

The delegates have been challenged to reimagine the African Mining Sector through technology for more collaboration, investments and the sustainable development of the mining sector.

Video: Investing in African Mining Indaba – In conversation with Datamine Africa’s Dr Benny Chisonga

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Source: SABC News (sabcnews.com)