Mining is an important sector in KZN Picture: Tiro Ramatlhatse
DURBAN - After the KwaZulu-Natal Mining Indaba in Newcastle, we spoke with Department of Mineral Resources about the state of mining in KwaZulu Natal.

According to the department, minerals such as coal, heavy mineral sands, limestone, aggregate, stone and sand are mined in the province. Just recently lithium ore was discovered, and is now being mined but on a smaller scale.

The South African Chamber of Mines has said that mining in the country makes a direct contribution of R312 billion to the South African GDP as well as an R93.4 billion direct contribution to fixed investment.

Mining makes a large contribution to job creation and support businesses who supply different goods and services for use in the mining sector, which in turn creates indirect jobs. Mining companies also contribute by paying taxes which is then collected by the South African Reserve Bank.

On strategies to bring in more black businesses in mining, the department said that both the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act and the Mining Charter encourage black-owned companies to enter mining and to also participate in varying downstream activities in procurement and beneficiation.

Technology has a big role to play in mining, the department says. Technology influences productivity, efficiency and effects the actual mining of the orebody, transportation and processing. With the cost of mining increasing, mining companies should look into using technology for optimal resources extraction.

The department explained that technology is being explored in many aspects of mining from safety devices in measuring methane gas to blasting technologies and processing of minerals.

When asked about asteroid drilling, the department said that the industry and legislation are currently focused on mining on land and offshore. They added that they would be looking into fracking as well.