Mantashe points finger at SA mining execs for low ranking in Fraser survey
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JOHANNESBURG - MINERAL Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has blamed South Africa’s chief executives for the country’s low ranking in the annual Fraser Institute 2020 Survey of Mining.
The Canadian-based survey released last month ranked 60 out of 77 countries in terms of attractiveness based on how mineral endowments and public policy factors such as taxation and regulatory uncertainty affected exploration investments.
Speaking during the annual Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) Industry Day held virtually yesterday, Mantashe said mining chief executives had contributed to the low rankings.
“Executives find it easy to say this is rubbish, we are not doing well here, and we will settle our issues in the courts. Until we realise that by doing so we are shooting ourselves in the foot our ratings will remain low,” Mantashe said, adding that the government was promoting investments through a conducive policy and regulatory framework.
“We are one, we are together in this. If we fail, we fail together, if we succeed, we succeed,” said Mantashe. He said he believed that South Africa was on the right track following investment announcements from the PGM industry, including SibanyeStillwater’s R6.8 billion expansion at its K4 PGM Mine and the Impala Platinum R5.7bn investment toward the expansion of Two Rivers Mine in Limpopo.
However, in February Roger Baxter, the Minerals Council SA chief executive, warned that R20bn in potential investment opportunities were available in a supportive environment, but the South African environment was not supportive.
Mantashe said the department had established a task team focused on fixing the dysfunctional South African Mineral Resources Administration (Samrad) online application system to further improve investments.
“Samrad is our biggest worry. We have given ourselves six months to get this right. If there are any brilliant ideas please give them to us. There is a team working on that to ensure that we have a transparent system, easy to use, and avoids corruption. We are working on that, it is our biggest worry,” said Mantashe.
The Samrad system has been a stumbling block for the issuing of licences and permits and also hampered the growth of exploration due to lack of transparency and numerous errors.
Earlier this month, the portfolio committee on mineral resources and energy said it was alarmed at the high level of backlogs.