Government has wrapped up a successful African Mining Indaba, with stakeholders thrashing out various issues in the mining sector.
Thousands of local and international mining stakeholders gathered at the African Mining Indaba, in Cape Town, from 8 to 11 February 2016, to discuss plans to stabilise the mining sector in the continent.
Issues that dominated the agenda included job losses, transformation, empowerment, health and safety of workers.
In his official opening address, Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane assured investors that government is committed to continuing to create an enabling environment for investment and the ease of doing business in South Africa.
"Our legislation and regulatory framework provide the highest order of protection of investment.
Government have prioritised the processing and finalisation of the MPRD Amendment Bill as a matter of urgency in order to entrench the necessary certainty. We are also in the process of reviewing the Mining Charter" said Minister Zwane.
In dealing with job losses, Minister Zwane reiterated his commitment in working jointly with all stakeholders to minimise job losses.
"I call upon captains of the industry to deal with this matter responsibly, after proper consultation with all affected stakeholders, especially the workers" said the Minister.
He urged mining companies not to close mines hastily but to rather consider other alternative measures to safe jobs.
Stakeholders indicated that health and safety is of paramount importance.
"We have since made great strides in fighting fatalities in the workplace. Hence our lowest statistics in 2015," said the Minister.
He empathised with the families of the three mineworkers who are trapped at the Lily mine in Barberton and urged stakeholders to work together with government to reach a target of zero harm.
Minister Zwane further congratulated the following mining companies for going for more than 12 months without a fatality - De Beers, Exxaro, Sasol, Northam Platinum, Pilanesberg Platinum, African Rainbow Minerals, South 32, Aquarius Platinum South Africa, Total Coal South Africa, Kuyasa Mining, Coal of Africa, Eskom Ingula Pumped Storage, Foskor, Rio Tinto Richards Bay Minerals, Lafarge, AfriSam, Petra Diamonds and Trans Hex Mining.
"Whilst we may be heartened by the health and safety performance achieved in recent times, we cannot be complacent. We will be holding a Mine Health and Safety summit in November 2016 to review our current commitments," said Minister Zwane.
Minister Zwane, together with the Ministers of the Departments of Trade and Industry and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, hosted an investment seminar to drive competitiveness, growth and stability in the mining sector.
In their discussions, Ministers emphasised the importance of growing the sector and creating more opportunities for value addition of minerals.
Government is looking to establish a platinum based Special Economic Zone in South Africa before the end of 2016 to find ways to bring more beneficiation to platinum.
South Africa already has jewellery and catalytic converters, an iron and steel value chain is also being looked at and government will ensure that South Africa remains the primary steel manufacturer.
The importance of mining companies working with communities and local authorities in ensuring that the environment is conducive for mining has also been emphasised.
Source: All Africa