Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Government is banking on recent reforms and policy certainty to revive the mining industry. FILE PHOTO: ANA

PRETORIA - South Africa's government is banking on recent reforms and policy certainty to revive the mining industry after production  fell by 1.7 percent in the first eight months of 2018 compared with an increase of 4.5 percent in the same period last year, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said on Wednesday.

In his maiden medium-term budget policy statement to parliament, Mboweni said lower gold production had contributed most to this decline, while copper and nickel production had also decreased.

Policy uncertainty in the mining sector has constrained investment and growth in recent years as the industry clashed with the government over a proposed changes to the mining charter.

The department of mineral resources has since published a revised charter largely approved by the industry,  and indicated it would withdraw the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development amendment bill following consultation with business, labour and communities, bringing much-needed regulatory certainty to the sector.

Mboweni said the resolution of several longstanding policy issues over the past six months should support investment in mining and energy, boosted by the creation of separate oil and gas legislation.

He said mining output was expected to return to moderate growth in the next 12 months, and business and consumer confidence would improve gradually over the medium term despite lower commodity prices.

ANA