Big push to revive mining reputation

Big push to revive mining reputation

2014-09-19 05:00

Johannesburg - South Africa's mining industry faces a number of challenges that require determined and systematic resolution, Deputy Mineral Resources Minister Godfrey Oliphant said on Thursday.

"Importantly, our success will depend largely on the degree to which all the stakeholders participate in finding effective solutions and commit to re-establishing the industry's reputation and restoring its growth path," Oliphant said.

In a speech prepared for delivery at Kumba stakeholder day, Oliphant said there were a number of issues within the industry that required both political and technical leadership.

These included the need to boost exploration and prospecting investment, workforce health and safety, rehabilitating the environmental legacy, illegal mining, and benefication and revitalisation of mining regions.

"Preceding all these pressing items is a far more strategic issue, the No1 on my list, namely the need to revive the reputation of our mining industry and its global branding," Oliphant said.

The events of the past couple of years, in particular the prolonged strike in the platinum sector earlier this year, seriously damaged the reputation of South Africa's mining industry and its governance structures.

While it was tempting to blame certain sector players, it was of national interest all key players instead focused on their collective responsibility to safeguard the industry, its sustainability and its global competitiveness.

"The urgent rehabilitation of the industry's branding and its comparative positioning remain the topmost priority," the deputy minister said.

"To this end, we should certainly learn from our own lessons of experience and that of the others."

Structural issues in the industry needed a collective and effective resolution.

"In fact, there is a real risk that if matters are left to uncoordinated socio-political and financial markets, the industry will evolve along the trajectory of capital intensification and resource under-utilisation," he said.

The result would be a steady contraction in the sector's employment level and other social benefits.

"It is clear that the prosperity of the nation, in many of our regions and our social welfare are greatly affected by the developments in the mining sector," Oliphant said.

"This is particularly so if we consider the vast opportunities and the great potential that the mining sector has to offer."

Careful analysis of South Africa's modern economic history would show the sector has had a pivotal role in the modernisation of the South African economy.

"Much of our country's industrialisation has been and remains due to our resourceful and robust mineral sector endowment," Oliphant said.

"It is therefore a national imperative that we focus on the ways and means of unlocking the inherent potential of the sector at the same time that we deal with the outstanding structural issues facing the industry."

  • Hugo Monterro - 2014-09-19 06:26

    enough talk & waffle - let's see the action (won't be holding my breath)

  • Ike Jakson - 2014-09-19 07:08

    Leave the mines to the shareholders and stay out of their business. Stay away; don’t even talk about it or about other stakeholders. You want growth and stability; go play your politics elsewhere.

      Leonard Tsolo - 2014-09-19 07:59

      Please stop smoking that stuff Jackson.Our communities should benefit from the land of their ancestors, Full stop.

      Ike Jakson - 2014-09-19 09:22

      Thanks for the compliment about my ancestors, friend Leonard. Actually we were from two main parts and a pretty jolly mix of some others too. Our Dutch ancestors came out here in 1757 and my English ones in 1820. Others had come out before and as I have said there is a fair mix as well. We must meet one day and talk about ancestry. Ours are well documented and it is pretty clear that they made it by staying out of politics; they built schools and roads etc etc. So we all benefited. We were never good at politics so we eventually abandoned all interest in it. I hope you get a mine one day and make lots of money; do go well.

      Ike Jakson - 2014-09-19 09:26

      Sorry Leonard, there I almost forgot to confirm that I smoke Georg Jensen pipes [Swedish] with straight Fox tobacco. I have just stopped one full as you suggested and will think about you today.

  • Piet Pretorius - 2014-09-19 07:41

    One way of restoring its growth path is to mechanize the mines in order to use less striking workers. Another way is to get rid of unions or hold unions fully responsible for all damages and loss of income caused by illegal strikes. Government must focus on controlling the unions and striking workers, the rest will take care of itself.

      Leonard Tsolo - 2014-09-19 07:55

      The rest of exploring miners workers has never taken care of itself for centuries.Now is the time for communities and mine workers to benefit.Remember, not even National Party could get rid of Trade unions.

  • Todays Realist - 2014-09-19 07:59

    As long as the Black Unions think that their demands must be met at any cost to the economy there will be little confidence by investors in this sector. SA will be suffering for years after the last 5 month strike. The only people that won anything were the Union Leaders (future politicians) during the strike. The companies, the workers, the economy all lost!

  • michael.tetley.35 - 2014-09-19 08:53

    Many years ago Zambia nationalized the mines and the sector all but collapsed. The last few years they de-nationalized and the sector is now recovering nicely. Government's role is to facilitate business and investment, not to participate in business. They've never been successful at it anywhere else in the world.

  • Jenny Anderson - 2014-09-19 08:58

    Leonard, please get some lessons on business etc, then make comments based on facts.

  • Todays Realist - 2014-09-19 09:45

    @ Themba Beuk Bevu. The White corrupt criminals are seriously outnumbered by the Black corrupt criminals. 45 million blacks versus 5 million whites gives a ratio of 9:1. The Black population has grown at a staggering 1 million + per year in recent years, whilst the White population is stagnating. Last year there were less than 50,000 new jobs created. The Black Majority (80%) have the Racist EE Laws in place yet the skills levels have never improved in 20 years. Whose fault is it that the Black Majority is poor? I would suggest the ball is in the Black Majority’s court. You only get paid want you are worth to the company. It makes no difference to the employer whether you only feed yourself or the extended family. That is your problem, not the employer’s problem. Black Business must create jobs for the Black Majority to resolve the Big Black Problem!

  • Joseph Tettey - 2014-09-20 07:38

    The industry is frankly loosing its appeal with investors and the country should look elsewhere. Tourism and developing a Finance capital will best suit us .There are variables which overlap which can reduce cost.

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