Oct 17, 2012
Lack of consensus, strategic integration holding back beneficiationBack
Johannesburg|Africa|Environment|Exploration|Export|Industrial|Industrial Development Corporation|Mining|Platinum|PROJECT|Project Management|Resources|Training|Africa|South Africa|Institute For African Alternatives|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)
Creamer Media Senior Researcher and Deputy Editor Online
Other Mining News
South African power utility Eskom faces a 17-million tonne coal shortfall by 2017 at its coal-fired power plants, a Cabinet Minister said on Wednesday. The shortfall is anticipated in 2015 at Matla, Tutuka and Hendrina power stations and in 2016 at Kriel and Arnot...
JSE-listed Impala Platinum (Implats) has decided not to sell its Marula operation, in Limpopo, and plans to improve the performance of the operation instead. The platinum miner announced in February that it would sell Marula, as part of measures to conserve cash.
Updated 7 hours ago South Africa slipped one position, from 52 to 53, in the latest world competitiveness ranking, which highlighted power and infrastructure shortfalls, high youth unemployment, as well as inadequate education and technical skills availability as key challenges to the...
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
While economic forecasts for the African continent are most favourable, African airlines may not be able to benefit from the expected growth in the region’s gross domestic product (GDP), International Air Transport Association VP: Africa Raphael Kuuchi has warned....
The Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) will need to change substantially post 2020, says Metair Investments South African operations COO Ken Lello. “We must not make tweaks. We have to change. What we are doing is not sustainable.”
Banking group Absa’s forecast is for the rand to end the year at around R13 against the dollar, weakening further to R13.50 by 2016, says Absa sectoral analyst Jacques du Toit. He warns that possible interest rate hikes in the US may see capital being pulled from...
The Dispute Resolution Centre at the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI) is now open to handle party-to-party disputes. The BCCEI represents the interests of all level four to nine Construction Industry Development Board companies.
Communications technology firm Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa head Fredrik Jejdling says the company’s commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility has been integrated into all facets of its operations, which has provided it with sustainable revenue...