Johannesburg - The future of the mining industry depends on more and steady investment in research and technology, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said on Thursday.
"Mining innovation straddles research and development, cost efficiency, productivity and management, all of which impact on sustainable growth of the industry," Shabangu said in a speech prepared for delivery at the Council for Geoscience's (CGS) centennial commemoration in Johannesburg.
However, mining research and technology development was fragmented and at its lowest point. This was stifling the country's potential to be at the cutting edge of future mining development.
Shabangu said a mining research institute, opened by the University of the Witwatersrand, gave the CGS an opportunity to partner with academic institutions and move research and development to a higher level.
South Africa needed to increase its share of the global exploration budget.
"This will not happen without sufficient investment in geological research and associated technologies," she said.
"The potential for discovery of world class mineral deposits with the use of advanced exploration/prospecting technology remains very high in South Africa, with a healthy mineral 'real estate'."
Acquisition of new high-quality geological information and new knowledge of mineral deposits in various areas would turn investment around for the country's mining and mineral exploration sector.
The government had granted R200m over three years for the re-investigation of selected potential mineral belts and districts. The CGS would use the money to update geological data available to South Africans.