South African minister of mineral resources Gwede Mantashe in a bilateral meeting with Ambassador of France in South Africa, Christophe Farnaud, on the margins of the Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Wednesday (Pic: DMR Twitter)

CAPE TOWN – South African minister of mineral resources, Gwede Mantashe, on Wednesday met various African counterparts to discuss potential areas of cooperation on the margins of the ongoing Mining Indaba in Cape Town.

First up, Mantashe met with the minister of mines and quarries of Burkina Faso, Oumarou Idanin. 

Burkina Faso has been in mining only for about ten years and is seeking opportunities for capacity building as well as knowledge sharing and exchange with the department and its entities. 

After the Mining Indaba, Burkina Faso representatives will undertake technical visits to the Council for Geoscience, the research and development unit Mintek, and to the Mine Health and Safety Council.

Then Mantashe met with his Central African Republic (CAR) counterpart, Mboli Fatran, who thanked South Africa for its support in the area of mining. 

In August 2017, South Africa and CAR signed a memorandum of understanding on areas of cooperation, including in research and development, training and exploration.

Mantashe also met with his counterparts from Niger and Angola, Dr Diamantino Pedro Azevedo, to discuss potential areas of collaboration between the countries which include capacity building and knowledge sharing in the area of oil and gas.

Mantashe also held a bilateral meeting with Ambassador of France in South Africa, Christophe Farnaud. French company Total Exploration and Production is in the first phase of exploration for petroleum at its southern Africa's deep sea stavenger rig operations, situated 180 kilometres offshore of Mossel Bay in the Western Cape.

Mantashe welcomed the investment by France, saying: "If oil is discovered, it's a game changer as it will reduce our dependence on imported crude oil, and if gas is found it will be a major boost, especially for industrial domestic use."

Farnaud welcomed the stabilisation of South Africa’s regulatory framework for mining and welcomed the clarity given on oil and gas legislation.

During his opening address at the Mining Indaba on Monday, Mantashe reiterated that the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill has been withdrawn to separate oil and gas from the mining legislation.

He said a draft Upstream Petroleum (oil and gas) Bill was in the process of being developed. This bill will provide certainty to the upstream petroleum industry and stimulate growth and development in this sector. 

African News Agency (ANA)