The mining industry must position itself to take advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution which presents new growth opportunities for the industry, South Africa's mines Minister Gwede Mantashe said. He delivered his opening address at the 26th annual Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Monday. PHOTO: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
The mining industry must position itself to take advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution which presents new growth opportunities for the industry, South Africa's mines Minister Gwede Mantashe said. He delivered his opening address at the 26th annual Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Monday. PHOTO: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Mantashe points to digitisation as an enabler for jobs in the mining sector

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Feb 3, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe’s opening address at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Monday morning was positive for the industry, providing the affirmation that government will be allowing mines to address the issue of power generation by means of self-generation. 

Andrew Lane, Energy, Resources and Industrials Leader for Deloitte, noted that this is what the industry was hoping for as it will make a big difference in operations. Moreover, Minister Mantashe announced that he wants to start a second generating company.

“Minister Mantashe was not clear on the structure of the second generating company and whether it would be state or privately owned – it is positive nonetheless. He did highlight that it was to address the power constraints within the country and was part of his vision to get back to a surplus of energy supply for the industry and the country, and address the issue of pricing by adding competition,” Lane said.

Additionally, he drew attention to government’s intention to bring more renewables in to the frame and reduce the weight of coal in the portfolio.

Minister Mantashe was quite consistent in his messaging regarding the Fourth Industrial Revolution noting that it is not a destroyer of jobs, but could provide growth opportunities. 

Lane further added, “Digitisation will change things and there will be those that benefit from it and those who might not, but Minister Mantashe endorsing it as an enabler of jobs is a good thing.”

It came through clearly that the minister is linking the issue of new mining licences to the creation of jobs in the future and is challenging mining companies to ensure that the human capital aspect of new operations is considered as a matter of great importance. Additionally, he highlighted that operating mining companies should look at their current staff complement and evaluate how they reskill employees for the work force of the future.

“He committed to working with investors to improve the regulatory framework and add needed certainty. It is quite notable that the minister has changed the nature of the dialogue with industry and we are seeing the benefit of that. At the core he is having a more direct and productive conversation with the industry,” Lane said.

Drawing attention to the petroleum bill, he stated that if given the space to have a proper dialogue, the petroleum industry could be quite successful – getting it right the first-time round.

Looking to the future of the industry Minister Mantashe noted that exploration is key for his department. 

Lane said, “The future of the industry is to ensure that we open up reserves and welcome new players into the market.  It is also encouraging to hear that the department is improving their data through research, which bodes well for the future of the mining industry and goes a long way in driving the narrative that we are still an investment destination of choice for resources.”

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE 

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