Oct 17, 2012
Lack of consensus, strategic integration holding back beneficiationBack
Johannesburg|Africa|Environment|Exploration|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)
Updated 56 minutes ago The power grid will be severely constrained for the rest of the week, parastatal Eskom said on Tuesday. "It is possible that we may go through today [Tuesday] without implementing any load shedding," spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said.
Updated 1 hour 55 minutes ago South Africa's economy remains racially structured, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday. Welcoming members of the second presidential black economic empowerment council at Tuynhuys, Cape Town, he told them they needed to tackle this historical legacy because it was...
Updated 2 hours 19 minutes ago The failure of one in seven small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the first year of operation was not a result of a lack of access to funding, Absa South Africa head of business banking Happy Ralinala asserted on Tuesday. Access to market and relevant...
Recent Research Reports
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.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
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.
This Week's Magazine
Subscribe to Engineering News and Mining Weekly for two years, but only pay for the first year. The weekly editions of Engineering News and Mining Weekly will be posted to your preferred postal address and also gain access to:
National flag carrier South African Airways (SAA) is in an advanced stage of renegotiating its deal with European airliner manufacturer Airbus to acquire A320 single-aisle (or narrow body) aircraft. The aim is to replace ten of the aircraft still on order with five...
Worldwide, the main thrust in the ports industry over the past decade or more has been to increase efficiency. Traditionally, ports have been run by engineers and mariners and, in the past, increasing a port’s capacity was achieved by expanding the harbour. “That has...
What do you do when an elephant has a toothache? You call Dr Gerhard Steenkamp from the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) faculty of veterinary science, Onderstepoort, one of only two elephant ‘dentists’ in the world.
The 2015 Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) competition was launched earlier this month in Johannesburg, with the main focus on creating and inspiring entrepreneurs to create jobs and boost the economy.