Aug 15, 2012
Stimulating mining investment urgent – National Development PlanBack
Engineering|Johannesburg|Africa|Industrial|Mining|Platinum|Ports|Projects|Resources|Water|Africa|South Africa|Consumables Manufacturers|Downstream Producers|Energy|Energy Efficiency|Equipment|Improved Mining Methods|Machinery Uses|Manufacturing|Product|Products|Secure And Reliable Rail Services|Secure Reliable Electricity Supply|Services|Stable Mining Regulatory Framework|Infrastructure|Power|Rail|Trevor Manuel|Water
© Reuse this
The plan, released by Minister in the Presidency Responsible for National Planning Trevor Manuel, finds that South Africa's substantial unrealised opportunity and global market dominance in mineral deposits offers an opportunity for growth of 3% to 4% a year and the creation of 300 000 additional jobs.
However, in order to grow investment, outputs, exports and minerals cluster jobs, property rights certainty and the passing of amendments to the Minerals and Petroleum Resource Development Act of 2002 are required to ensure a predictable, competitive and stable mining regulatory framework.
The report stipulates that the growth must be carried out in a way that is environmentally sound and that promotes forward and backward linkages and emphasises the need for secure, reliable electricity supply.
It points out that there is scope for the private sector to supply themselves with an estimated 2 500 MW of additional potential power capacity by 2015 and adds that private-sector participation also has the potential to help with secure and reliable rail services.
It sees an opportunity for South Africa’s minerals cluster to develop, deepen and enhance linkages with capital goods and consumables manufacturers, suppliers of mining-related services and downstream producers, especially in the case of platinum-group metals (PGMs) and chrome ore, for which an export tax can be considered.
It advocates the provision of focused research and development support to enable improved mining methods that lengthen mine life, better energy efficiency and lessen water intensity.
It points out the potential for alternative new energy and manufacturing uses for especially PGMs and titanium and favours increased regional involvement by encouraging the development of alternative providers of partially processed intermediate inputs in other countries in the region.
It wants active engagement and resolution on issues that the Mining Industry Growth and Development Task Team raises and urges an improved alignment of Mining Charter requirements to ensure effectiveness in near-mine communities.
It laments mining’s contribution to gross domestic product has declined from 21% in 1970 to only 6% in 2010, resulting in the number of people employed directly in mining – excluding upstream and downstream industries – falling from 660 000 in 1970 to 440 000 in 2004 and stabilising at that level.
It calculates that mining, minerals and secondary beneficiated products account for almost 60% of export revenue.
Despite South Africa’s clear potential, it points out that the country’s mining sector has failed to benefit fully from the commodities boom over the past decade or more and urges exploitation of mineral resources to create employment and generate foreign exchange and tax revenue.
Given the energy-intensive nature of mining and mineral beneficiation, it says that South Africa will also need to invest heavily in helping the industry to reduce its carbon footprint and to use water more efficiently.
It says that concerns about the impact of a resource curse should not be confused with an essential commitment to expanding minerals production and exports and reasons that the resource curse will be addressed partly through stimulating forward and backward linkages to expand industrial and services capabilities.
It calculates that the South African mining industry is smaller now than it was in 1994 after performing poorly during the commodity boom from 2001 to 2008, which resulted in the local mining industry shrinking 1% a year while its top-20 peers enjoyed an average growth rate of 5% a year.
This is an opportunity lost, as estimates show the mining sector could expand by 3% to 4% a year to 2020, creating a further 100 000 jobs. The Human Sciences Research Council's most optimistic estimates show that mining employment could expand by 200 000 by 2024, potentially stimulating a further 100 000 jobs through linkages, and more if they are actively stimulated. This relies substantially on PGMs.
The central constraints are uncertainty in the regulatory framework and property rights, electricity shortages and prices, infrastructure weaknesses, especially in heavy-haul rail services, ports and water, and skills gaps.
Beneficiation or downstream production can raise the unit value of South African exports. In this regard, resource-cluster development, including the identification of sophisticated resource-based products that South Africa can manufacture, will be critical.
Electricity is the main constraint, as most of these activities are energy intensive. As long as electricity is scarce, there will be a trade-off between beneficiation and other more labour-absorbing activities. In general, beneficiation is not a panacea because it is also usually capital intensive, contributing little to overall job creation.
Substantially more attention will be devoted to stimulating backward linkages or supplier industries (such as capital equipment, chemicals and engineering services). Demand is certain; there is an opportunity for specialised product development, and the product complement is diverse. They are also more labour-absorbing than typical downstream projects. Such products have the potential for servicing mining projects globally, which is an advantage should the commodity boom persist.
Mining companies have an explicit requirement to participate in local development, and have the resources to do so in South Africa and the region. The sector could stimulate local economic development more substantially if the Mining Charter was aligned to these goals. More could be done on human-resource development, local economic development and procurement.
Notwithstanding the difficulties, it should be possible to create about 300 000 jobs in the minerals cluster, including downstream and upstream indirect jobs.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Mining News
Updated 2 hours ago Transaction volumes in the mining and metals sector reached a 10-year low in 2014, with transactions driven by divestments and forced sales in the face of falling commodity prices and risk-averse capital markets. It was fourth consecutive year of declining merger...
Updated 57 minutes ago International Ferro Metals (IFM) lifted ferrochrome production by a modest 3% to 49 800 t for the quarter ended December 31, despite the issuance of a Section 54 notice in November following a health and safety incident that led to two employees being exposed to...
TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Exploration junior Giyani Gold on Wednesday said it continued to work towards recovering funds owed to it by South African State-owned Corridor Mining Resources (CMR), its joint venture partner on the Giyani gold project, in Limpopo....
Updated 1 hour 44 minutes ago Oil producer Soco International has reduced its 2015 capital expenditure budget by more than 60% versus last year and will focus on projects in Vietnam and Africa, the company said. It also cut its production guidance for this year to reflect weaker output from some...
Updated 4 hours ago The chances of power cuts being implemented on Thursday were minimal, electricity supplier Eskom said. "Today's risk of load shedding is minimised, it looks like the system is relatively stable," spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said.
Recent Research Reports
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.
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.
This Week's Magazine
Three-dimensional (3D) printers being sold in South Africa by electronics distributor Rectron currently print in two types of plastic, but have a clear upgrade path over the next five years to eventually print in wood, ceramics and metal-alloy materials, says Rectron...
The world’s two dominant commercial aircraft manufacturers, Airbus of Europe and Boeing of the US, both recently announced that they had made record aircraft deliveries in 2014. Boeing set a global record for the industry with 723 commercial aircraft delivered, while...
The Western Cape is shifting further into the renewable-energy space with the official opening of a factory specialising in solar inverters, a key component of solar photovoltaic (PV) plants. The investment in the manufacturing facility in Cape Town aims to boost the...
Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) last month welcomed Cabinet’s establishment of a technical team war room to undertake various interventions to improve electricity supply security over the short- and medium-term, but added that the private sector also had a...
Despite a rapid rise in mobile connections and the economic and social benefits of such connectivity, more than half of the world ended 2014 unconnected. For this reason, industry commentators believe the biggest impact of mobile technology is still to come –...