Investors must be shown that there are opportunities to make money and that is what we offer them in the South African mining industry, Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday.
He was one of the guest speakers at a roundtable hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) on the sidelines of Mining Indaba 2019.
“We have learnt the hard way that if you want investments, you have to talk to the industry and to communities too,” said Mantashe.
“Investors want certainty when they invest in mining in SA. At the same time, we cannot stop the decline of gold mining, for instance, but we have to manage that decline efficiently.”
‘Come and mine and make your money’
Another important issue for Mantashe is how little beneficiation takes place inside SA in the mining industry.
“We are exporting jobs in this way when we should be discussing about investing in value addition in manganese, for instance,” he said.
“We want to say that in SA you can come and mine and make your money, but give us the benefits of beneficiation. Play according to the rules, then we won’t trouble you – we will facilitate you.”
Mantashe said he is well aware that the cost of electricity plays a big role in whether intensive energy users are prepared to do beneficiation in SA or not.
“Therefore, we will talk about the issue of administered prices, because you can use such electricity prices to stimulate the economy. That talk is on the table,” he said.
Another issue of importance for Mantashe is transformation.
“Black South Africans must be part of the economy and we will manage that. There are rules for it,” he said.
“Transformation is possible as a business imperative – not just to tick boxes.”
According to Mantashe investors must not be frightened by what doomsayers are saying about SA.
This as five diplomatic missions warned President Cyril Ramaphosa that his investment campaign “could fail unless SA starts to take tangible action against the perpetrators of state capture, corruption and other serious crimes”.
On Sunday, the Sunday Times reported that the embassies of the United States of America, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland wrote to Ramaphosa. They have since said they “regret” the misunderstanding caused by the memo.
Said Mantashe, “I say come to SA. It is possible to do business here. We are there to solve problems. Mining in SA is a good industry you can invest in it and be assured of your returns,” said Mantashe.
“President Cyril Ramaphosa asks for clear time frames and quality of work from us. He did so with the Mining Charter and he had it in time before his investment conference in order to remove uncertainty. It is not a compromised charter, but a workable charter.”