South Africa’s mining industry has to face some tough truths, Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani said in his keynote address at the Joburg Indaba on Wednesday.
The Indaba saw a host of government officials including ANCs secretary general Gwede Mantashe, Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi and global mining stakeholders and executives converge in Johannesburg to facilitate dialogue on key issues facing the industry.
Cutifani said mining was South Africa’s most important industry, but it did not collaborate enough with other parties.
Three critical issues needed to be resolved, he said. There needed to be a constructive conversation on the developmental pricing structure, changes to the Mining Charter targets, and increasing costs pressures, pressed Cutifani.
He said that ‘most parties outside South Africa are not vested in our forward success’ and encouraged the development for the future of South Africa’s mining industry based on domestic investment, and not relying on overseas parties.
South Africa was ranked outside the 50 top mining countries in the world despite it having the world’s largest reserves, noted Cutifani.
More certainty around the country’s policies was required, he urged.
‘Alpha and omega’ of economy
In his keynote speech, mines minister Ramatlhodi said government welcomed the platform with passion and enthusiasm as it seeks to find solutions confronting the industry.
“The mining industry is the alpha and omega of our economy,” said Ramatlhodi.
The Minister also took the opportunity to raise the platinum belt mineworker strikes that lasted several months consequently shrinking the economy.
“Strikes are not uniquely South African, but if they run to five months then that should raise attention to all stakeholders.”
The ruling party’s secretary general called for mending of social relations between business, society and the state in his address at the Indaba on Wednesday.
Mantashe said South Africa was experiencing a trust deficit. “If we do not work on the trust deficit we are not going to turn the industry around,” said Mantshe adding that how each participant imagines a successful future was critical going forward.
Mantashe added that the industry must be very bold and confident about where it wants to go in the future.
Black economic empowerment
Mantashe noted the need to change the sociology of the country urging the industry to embrace black economic empowerment.
“Black economic empowerment is a necessity and a business imperative,” he said.
“The wealth of the economy should be deracialised and we also need to promote coaching and mentorship as it is critical to the much required transformation.”
Mantashe said the industry must facilitate transformation at the senior management level going forward.
Investing in Africa
The Joburg Indaba continued on Thursday with over 250 guests attending the annual showpiece.
‘Investing in Resources and Mining in Africa’ is the theme of the 2014 Joburg Indaba hosted over two days at the Inanda Club in Johannesburg from 8 to 9 October.