South Africa's mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe addresses the Investing in African Mining Indaba on February 4. PHOTO: Songezo Ndlendle / African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN – Audit firm Deloitte on Monday welcomed mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe's remarks that the South African mining industry was open for business. 

During his opening address at the 25th annual Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, Mantashe said South Africa was now providing a conducive environment for investment after fixing a stable regulatory framework which provides security of tenure for investors. 

Andrew Lane, Deloitte's leader of Africa energy and resources, said Mantashe's address was a lot more positive than last year.

"We welcome his accentuation of investment in African mining and his clear call for attracting investment to the continent," Lane said.

"Very importantly Minister Mantashe acknowledged the importance of mining companies being profitable. This is a great acknowledgement from the government. At the core, it is through profitable mining activities that communities are able to benefit."

Mantashe highlighted South Africa's gradual move out of a recession but noted the mining industry had not contributed to that positive development. 

He said that he wants investors to know what they are signing up for when they invest in South Africa and that the finalized Mining Charter played an important role in providing that certainty. 

Lane said the government has definitely moved forward to provide regulatory certainty in the industry, "but investors are still cautious, especially in the light of industry concern about whether this will be the last iteration of the Mining Charter."

He also welcomed Mantashe's instruction to the Council for Geosciences to improve the quality of geological mapping and to start drilling which improves the quality of data needed to make better investment decisions. 

Lane said Mantashe's pronouncement that petroleum would be legislated separately was another growth opportunity for the economy since South Africa and Zimbabwe hold the majority of the world’s platinum reserves and thus can find beneficial value on the platinum value chain.

“Along with the dti, Minister Mantashe stressed the importance of fuel cells to drive platinum demand. Given the importance of this we should have a state policy and the state apparatus should be driving procurement and demand for fuel cell-based vehicles," Lane said.

- African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Catherine Rice