President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech at the Investing in African Mining Indaba noted the successes that can be achieved if the public and private sectors work together.The Minerals Council took note of the President’s commitments for his government to remove obstacles blocking growth of the mining industry and to support this critical sector of the economy. President Ramaphosa’s comments on the second day of the conference are a welcome acknowledgment of the role South Africa’s mining industry has played in stabilising the fiscus and the country’s economy in 2021 for the second consecutive year, creating jobs in a difficult economic environment, and keeping its workforce safe during the Covid-19 pandemic since early 2020. The industry has vaccinated three quarters of 458 000 employees, making it the leading economic sector in protecting its workforce. Cabinet ministers have similarly acknowledged how important mining’s contribution has been during the past two years. President Ramaphosa’s speech did not shy away from the difficulties the industry faces when considering investments to sustain and grow mines, or to explore for new mineral deposits. Mining companies are in a tough operating environment, with high levels of crime, expensive and irregular electricity supplies, and logistical bottlenecks on rail and at ports costing companies and the fiscus billions of rands. “This is a constructive and realistic speech by the State President and it has highlighted the industry’s contribution to the country,” said Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter.
“We have a high degree of resonance between the government and the Minerals Council on the components that will shape the industry for sustainable, inclusive growth going forward. President Ramaphosa’s commitment to reducing legal and regulatory constraints is critical,” he said.“From our side, we will continue discussions on improving energy security and returning Transnet to a position it can deliver contracted tonnages and ultimately fill its installed capacity,” he said at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town.