The Minerals Council South Africa today welcomed the appointment of a service provider to design, implement and support a mineral rights system to address one of the major hurdles constraining exploration, mine development and growth of the local mining industry.
The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has announced that it has finalised the appointment of a three-company consortium to install the system.
Included in the PMG Consortium are three firms:
– Canada-based Pacific GeoTech Systems, which is a globally recognised and respected company that has provided digital land resource management and permitting systems for Canadian provincial governments for more than two decades.
– Gemini GIS is a wholly women-owned South African empowerment geological services company, led by Andiswa Silinga as managing director.
– MITS Institute is a South African information and communication technology company.
It is great timing for South Africa as it hosts the Mining Indaba on February 5-8, which brings together national and regional mining industry investors, executives and policy makers in South Africa, and comes amid an industry outcry over delayed exploration licence approval.
The Minerals Council said in a statement that the move came after several years of lobbying for the “dysfunctional” South African Mineral Resources Administration System (Samrad) system introduced in 2011 to be scrapped and replaced with an off-the-shelf, transparent and efficient system to revitalise South Africa’s exploration sector and the development of junior and emerging miners.
Business Report reported on Tuesday that the business sector in South Africa is extremely concerned at the lack of investment in the mining industry due to unclear policy direction, delayed exploration licence approvals, the energy crisis, and logistics challenges.
Business Leadership South Africa on Tuesday warned that the mining sector was facing unprecedented challenges, especially due to the energy insecurity and more than a decade of regulatory chaos.
This as South Africa’s share of global exploration expenditure has been declining and had remained at less than 1% for the past three years, well below more than 5% 20 years ago.
“The mining industry needs a vibrant exploration sector to replace the ounces and tonnes of the nation’s minerals mined each year,” the Minerals Council said today.
The industry body said it looked forward to engaging the DMRE about the new cadastral system, how it would be implemented, the timeline needed to populate the new system using data from paper records and those still on the Samrad database to efficiently process mineral right applications.
Mzila Mthenjane, the CEO of the Minerals Council, said: “The new cadastre will expedite the processing of prospecting and mineral rights applications, shortening the adjudication of applications. We can anticipate a near-term positive turnaround in the prospects of the industry through increased investment and future growth of mining and stimulus to the economy.
“We need a globally competitive and world-class system to stimulate the mining sector, attract investment to grow the sector, attract new participants, create wealth for South Africa, and benefit society, especially at a time when there is a global conversation about critical minerals, which South Africa is endowed with,” he said.
According to the Minerals Council, it has estimated the backlog of more than 3 000 prospecting and mining rights to have a pent-up investment value of more than R30 billion, with thousands of jobs that could be created, particularly in rural areas where there was little economic activity.
However, the DMRE last week said it had finalised 2 041 applications in the current financial year, and committed itself to being efficient and transparent in processing mining applications.
The Minerals Council said South Africa had many of the minerals needed for the decarbonisation of economies and new technologies. To play its role in the global critical mineral economy, South Africa needed to urgently revitalise its exploration sector.
“This is an inflection point for the South African mining sector and it will underscore why #MiningMatters for all stakeholders and the country,” Mthenjane said.