Oct 17, 2012
Lack of consensus, strategic integration holding back beneficiationBack
Johannesburg|Africa|Exploration|Industrial|Industrial Development Corporation|Platinum|PROJECT|Project Management|Resources|Africa|South Africa|Institute For African Alternatives|Mining|Value Chain|Ben Turok|Infrastructure|Jorge Maia|Mbuyazwe Magagula
© Reuse this
Speaking at a media briefing following a consultative meeting on beneficiation at the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) head office, he indicated that many private sector players cited hurdles relating to government departments as hampering their efforts to beneficiate more of South Africa’s minerals.
“Some say they will start beneficiating when it makes commercial sense, but the State has the role of creating the environment for this to happen,” Turok stated.
Linkage issues within the value chain, such as infrastructure and training would have to be addressed.
A lack of consensus regarding what beneficiation entailed was also holding back efforts to go beyond exploration, extraction and processing.
“There is no common understanding of the science and technology and process of beneficiation. Every company or department sees it differently. But we have started the process of creating coherence,” Turok explained.
It was agreed at the meeting that regulation, combined with incentivisation would be a better option than to pressure mining companies into beneficiation initiatives.
As one of the world’s best-resourced countries, South Africa’s low beneficiation rate was a “conundrum”, Turok said.
“South Africa has the largest chrome deposit in the world, but ore is exported raw…we do have companies that can create ferrochrome, they do some smelting, but not full beneficiation,” he said, adding that a great deal of the last stage of the value chain happened abroad.
Turok stated that the country’s export basket was too dependent on minerals and that it would have to be expanded to contain manufactured goods as well.
“We need to address the highly concentrated nature of South Africa’s merchandise export basket, reduce our economy’s vulnerability to cyclical trends and improve our competitiveness in global markets.
“We import too many manufactured goods, we have the capacity to manufacture it ourselves.”
IDC research and information head Jorge Maia said South Africa held 88% of the world’s platinum-group metals reserve base, but that its utilisation was at 0.4%. “There is still a lot of potential for extraction,” he noted.
The country also contained 80% of the world’s manganese reserves and 72% of its chrome ore reserves.
“We must turn this into competitive advantages,” he said, reiterating that further development of these reserves and subsequent beneficiation would be beneficial for South Africa on many levels.
“Beneficiation promotes industrial diversity in the spread of downstream processes and would ensure more balanced growth,” Maia indicated.
It would also build industrial competitiveness and promote skills and technological developments, while playing a central role in attracting foreign direct investment and rejuvenating private sector investment activity.
IDC mining and minerals beneficiation head Mbuyazwe Magagula said the development finance institution would assist with funding and project management, as well as research and development in the drive towards increased beneficiation.
Turok said the draft report of the meeting would be finalised and given to the private sector and the Parliamentary portfolio committees of relevant departments, among others, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Mineral Resources.
“Then we will have to discuss how to take the process further,” he said.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Mining News
The board of JSE-listed Miranda Minerals has requested the Johannesburg Stock Exchange to suspend trade in its shares as the financially distressed coal exploration-and-development company has ceased doing business and can no longer meet its financial obligations....
Coal asset developer Beacon Hill says its flagship Minas Moatize mine, in northern Mozambique, will likely remain on care and maintenance until coal prices recover and the project’s expanded wash plant is completed by early next year. The plant was placed on care and...
Aim-listed Richland Resources has attributed across-the-board slumps in its financial showing for the half-year ended June 30, to the issuance of a joint mining licence to its wholly-owned subsidiary TanzaniteOne Mining (TML) and the State Mining Corporation of...
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
While Ekurhuleni-based transformer manufacturer Reliable Transformers currently designs, manufactures and tests its products according to the SANS 780 specifications for distribution transformers and other applicable transformer specifications, it is working towards...
Global endpoint security solutions company Kaspersky Lab has introduced new measures to prevent cyber criminals from accessing sensitive data, alongside its malware-signature and heuristic device analysis detection methods. Threats to mobile devices have increased...
To ensure uptake and a positive impact, Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) networks in cities must be provided at schools, community centres and commercial centres to enable citizens and government to access information that will improve access to and delivery of services....
Eco-estate Monaghan Farm, located near Lanseria airport, north-west of Johannesburg, has taken a new approach to modern living and sustainability with its 517 ha development, dedicated to farm living.
Forklift and lift-truck distributor Goscor Lift Hi-Reach launched the Genie SX-180, the tallest self-propelled super boom in Africa, in Johannesburg last month. “As the official distributor of the well-known Genie range of equipment in Southern Africa, we are pleased...