The Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources Godfrey Oliphant believes foreign investors are still interested in South Africa’s mining sector.

Oliphant revealed that that a number of projects are shovel-ready in the platinum, zinc and other manganese sectors.

Answering questions from MPs in the National Assembly on how the government was dealing with strikes in the mining sector, Oliphant said his department’s platinum task team had been in talks with trade unions and mines to ensure that jobs were saved in the platinum sector, which has been hit by strikes since last year.

This follows the Minister of Mineral Resources Susan Shabangu’s announcement last month in her budget vote speech that her department would develop a rescue plan for the gold and platinum sectors through its Mining Growth, Development, and Employment Task Team (Migdett), which was set up in 2008.

Oliphant said ahead of upcoming wage negotiations, the National Union of Mineworkers had invited the Chamber of Mines to a pre-bargaining session in an attempt to ensure a peaceful wage negotiations period.

Meanwhile, commenting about the perception that South Africa had some of the highest port charges in the world, the Minister of Public Enterprises, Malusi Gigaba, told Parliament that not all the country’s port rates were high.

Gigaba highlighted that South Africa’s rate at local ports for coal exports fell 17% below that of the global trend.

However, he admitted that the country has high charges related to the receiving and sending of containerised goods and added that the Ports Regulator and Transnet is addressing this.

The main challenge was that South African ports, unlike the ports of competitor nations, did not receive injections from the fiscus, said Gigaba, who added that he welcomed suggestions on tackling funding constraints.

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