Consultancy laments R10bn/y deficit in exploration investment against govt target

19th February 2024

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online


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Despite the South African government having set a target to attract 5% of global exploration spend within five years from 2019, the country attracted just 0.8% of global exploration spend in 2022 and. 0.92% in 2023.

This means that, by next year, South Africa would need to attract about $636-million, or R12-billion, a year in investment to achieve the target, compared with the current $117-million, or R1.9-billion.

On February 13, 2019, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe communicated government’s target of securing a minimum of 5% of the global exploration budget by February 2024.

Consultancy AmaranthCX says South Africa is attracting only slightly more exploration spend at the moment compared with its all-time low of R1.6-billion in 2021.

AmaranthCX director Paul Miller says the Industrial Development Corporation, together with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, plans to establish a R400-million fund to support exploration by junior miners over a number of years.

However, the fund will not go far to address the R10-billion a year deficit in investment between the current performance and the radical improvement that would be required to attract 5% of global exploration investment.

Mantashe has since moved the target of attracting 5% of global exploration investment to late 2025 and then, again, to late 2026; however, Miller says achieving this target will require radical policy and administrative improvements if it is to be realised.

Ultimately, South Africa needs a five- to six-fold increase on exploration spend to meet the 5% target and to return to investment levels of 2004.

Miller points out that the apogee for South African exploration budgets coincided with the advent of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act and the first Mining Charter – “it has been inexorably down from there”.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online




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