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Mantashe highlights exploration efforts

30th March 2023

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online

     

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The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy is engaged in an intensive programme of mineral exploration, particularly in the North West, Limpopo and the Northern Cape provinces, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe said, speaking at the North West Mining and Energy and Investment Conference on March 30.

He indicated that this follows the inaugural North West Mining and Energy Investment Conference held in January 2022, which resolved on the gazetting of the exploration strategy for the mining industry in South Africa; and the progress made following the gazetting of the strategy and its implementation plan in April 2022.

“We are doing this because we are convinced that this is the new mining belt for our country where new mines can be opened on the back of the discovery of new minerals that have been proven to be critical for a just energy transition,” Mantashe highlighted.

He noted that, during the 2023 Investing in African Mining Indaba, the department announced the formation of the R500-million exploration fund by the Council for Geoscience in partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation to enable junior mining and the emergence of new mines.

“This is deliberately intended to redress the past imbalances wherein the majority of South Africans were systematically marginalised and prevented from owning the means of production, and from meaningful participation in the mainstream economy. 

“As we brace ourselves to grow and transform the mining and energy sector, we must be conscious that this will not be an easy task. However, we must ensure that we are not detracted and derailed from growing a globally competitive and transformed mineral and energy sectors,” Mantashe emphasised.

He informed that, on March 24, the department issued a request for bids for a customised mining licence system aimed at enhancing efficiency and transparency in the application, granting and management of prospecting and mining rights.

“We believe the system will help us improve the accuracy and accessibility of the significant information needed by the industry to flourish. Moreover, the system is expected to assist in expediting the processing of applications and thus support the efforts by the department to address the backlog in prospecting and mining applications,” he outlined.

Mantashe also mentioned some improvements with regard to the implementation of the country’s Energy Action Plan, including the reforms made around embedded generation, where the licensing threshold had been removed.

“We are pleased that mining companies are increasingly leveraging on these reforms. Following Gold Fields’ success in the construction of a solar plant to boost its energy reliability, Seriti Resources is constructing a wind project in Mpumalanga, and Exxaro is constructing a solar plant to supply electricity to their Grootegeluk mine.

“Through these reforms, government has enabled policy and regulatory certainty, therefore, it is incumbent on individual companies to leverage on them. We hope to see more and more registrations in this regard,” he averred.

According to Mantashe, the country should also move away from protests against the development of alternative industries to power the economy, such as the upstream petroleum industry. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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