Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe says as things stood there is no country that can match South Africa in terms of mineral diversity offerings. Photo: Supplied

CAPE TOWN – With $2.5 trillion (R37trln) in-situ, or untouched, mineral wealth means South African remains one of the best mining jurisdictions in the world and is open for business, Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe told a Perth forum.

The Minister said as things stood there was no country that could match South Africa in terms of mineral diversity offerings.

A group of South African business people and government officials is in Perth, Australia in search of trade and investment opportunities as part of the Outward Selling Mission (OSM) organised by the Department of Trade and Industry.

The delegates will also showcase their products and services at the 17th annual Africa Down Under International Conference and Trade Show that commenced on Wednesday, running until Friday. 

Mantashe said South Africa’s mining industry was one of the key economic sectors in the country, contributing about 7.5 percent to gross domestic product (GDP), 30 percent of export earnings, and more than 450 000 direct jobs. 

On Tuesday, Statistics SA released quarter two GDP results that indicate that the economy had grown by 3.1 percent in the second quarter with the mining industry being the largest contributor at 14.4 percent.

“Coal being the highest contributor at 28 percent is testament to the fact that South Africa is still well endowed with coal resources. We depend largely on coal-generated electricity and that is going to be so for a number of decades to come. 

“Our power utility, Eskom, continues to play a significant role in ensuring energy supply, however, in recent years it has experienced challenges,” he said. 

Eskom in July projected that it would pay 20 percent more for its coal this financial year, after being forced into more expensive short-term supply contracts. Senior coal analyst at XMP Consulting, Xavier Prévost said the surge in Eskom’s coal price was of the company’s own doing.

The 28th World Economic Forum on Africa – which coincidentally is running concurrently with Africa Down Under International Conference and Trade Show – will focus on, among other matters, business leaders ability to tackle long-term challenges such as climate change.

It has been estimated that as much as 48 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP will be vulnerable to extreme climate patterns by 2023.

The Minister encouraged companies to invest in the coal sector in South Africa with a sharper focus on clean coal technologies to ensure a positive contribution to carbon emissions reduction.