Deloitte’s Andrew Lane

Andrew Lane, Energy, Resources and Industrials Leader for Deloitte Africa, believed that it was encouraging to hear that South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy was advocating on behalf of the mining industry to cabinet as well as the ANC.

Deloitte foresees a warmer relationship between the Department of Minerals and Energy and the mining sector in future following Gwede Mantashe’s speech at this year’s Joburg Indaba, held in Sandton.

In his speech, Mantashe alluded to his department being responsive to business through its economic portfolio, and that he assessed his department based on the industry’s performance.

Mantashe was the keynote speaker at the Indaba, which is held annually to facilitate a dialogue between the government, industry stakeholders and the private sector on critical issues facing the mining sector.

Mantashe said he was fully aware that his role in the mining sector was to protect the interests of workers, mine owners and the environment, and advised that the finalised draft of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) would be discussed by cabinet next week before it is released for further public comment.

“The minister presented a very supportive position towards the industry this year, and I anticipate that he will adopt a pragmatic balance between coal and renewables. I do not think that he is going to be swayed by lobby groups, and we will see coal in the IRP, as well as gas, and nuclear as part of the energy mix,” he said.

Lane agreed with the minister that black economic empowerment (BEE) is less about solving a social problem, than creating more inclusive wealth. “Excellence and entrepreneurship will ensure that the wealth that has been created is sustainable, and benefits the country in the long term.”

On the question of whether the price that state-owned power utility Eskom pays for coal should be reduced, Lane believes that inefficiencies in the whole value chain, especially around wastage, should be corrected first.

“Intelligent Mining helps with identifying where waste is created in the business ranging from inherent variability in, for example, the orebody, design and structural waste to management-induced variability. Digital solutions are designed to eliminate this waste by adopting best-of-breed technologies many of which have been proven in multiple industries,” said Lane.

With safety in mines being raised as a growing concern amongst all stakeholders at the Indaba, Lane believes miners need to be empowered to make better decisions by being able to predict events before they arise.

“Intelligent Mining is also about making informed decisions through accurate, complete and timely information.”

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