The department of mineral resources and energy said on Thursday it had approved a mining right for Orion Minerals. Photographer: Nadine Hutton/Bloomberg News

JOHANNESBURG - The department of mineral resources and energy said on Thursday it had approved a mining right for Orion Minerals, paving the way for the development of a R4 billion copper-zinc project in the Northern Cape. 

It quoted minister Gwede Mantashe as telling delegates at the Australia Down Under conference in Perth that development reaffirmed South Africa's appeal as an investment destination for mining due to regulatory and policy certainty.

"The revival of copper and nickel mining in the country provides a good replacement pipeline for the depleting minerals which have been mined for over 130 years," the department said.

"They are also an indication that mining is indeed a sunrise industry in South Africa. Therefore, the decline of other minerals should not be interpreted to mean the death of the entire mining sector."

In 2018, South Africa’s mining sector received over US $3.2 billion in investments which resulted in the creation of an estimated 5,000 jobs.

There are about 60 projects currently in the pipeline, with an estimated value of US $7.8 billion and potential job opportunities of over 30,000 in the medium to long term, the mineral resources department said.

- African News Agency (ANA)