MineShift highlights the importance of advancing African beneficiation

14th March 2024 By: Tracy Hancock - Creamer Media Contributing Editor

MineShift highlights the importance of advancing African beneficiation

The need to ensure that Africa realises the vast potential for socioeconomic upliftment presented by the on-continent beneficiation of its abundant endowment of precious-metals and stones was emphasised at the inaugural MineShift event, hosted at Cape Town’s ZEITZ Mocaa Museum of Contemporary Art Africa.

MineShift was created to celebrate the artistry and innovation of African jewellers, artists and manufacturers, offering a platform to showcase the craftsmanship and talent of the industry while promoting the expansion and advancement of beneficiation in Africa.

Hosted by leading precious metals refinery and beneficiator Metal Concentrators (MetCon) and jewellery brand Gina White Collection last month, the event emphasised the need to invest in the development of a competitive beneficiation industry to derive greater value from mining in Africa.

MetCon MD Grant Crosse emphasised the importance of a downstream economy and elevating Africa’s resources before leaving the continent.

“We need to believe in local value-added products so that we can bring these jobs home to Africa and support economic growth.”

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe also spoke, encouraging investment in the many possibilities of adding value to the continent’s minerals locally.

He also highlighted the untapped opportunity to aid in increased value addition in the platinum jewellery sector, alongside gold and diamonds.

Africa is not only home to about 30% of the world’s mineral reserves but also boasts an abundance of manufacturing expertise and artisanal excellence.

“We are sitting on a substantial amount of gold and an incredible 90% of the world’s platinum and chrome. It’s almost as if when the world was created, Africa won the geological lottery,” added Crosse at the event.

 MineShift emphasises that through transforming these precious minerals into world-class jewellery, investment products, art and more, Africa will be given the chance to elevate the value derived from the mining industry.

Through the common vision to elevate Africa’s resources, MineShift brought together businesses; small, medium-sized and microenterprises; government; artists and industry influencers. The event’s key partners comprise financial services provider Absa, media and entertainment company Amplify Africa, diversified miner Anglo American, security solutions provider Brinks, diamond company De Beers Group, financial services company StoneX and the South African Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator (SADPMR).

Themed ‘Earth to Art’, the exclusive MineShift event gave guests the opportunity to witness Africa’s potential through an immersive experience involving interactive, live jewellery-making demonstrations using local gold and diamonds. Guests could learn about the complete jewellery crafting process from design to finishing, while some could even attempt to finish a piece.

Guests were also treated to a dazzling display of jewellery, sculptures and wealth products that demonstrated the potential of Africa’s gold, platinum, silver, and diamonds and other gems. This included pieces from BEN & Co, Bullion Mint & Refinery, De Beers Shining Light Awards, Free State, Gina White, Jack Friedman’s Treasures of Africa, Janine Binneman, MetCon, Nebü, Nic Bladen, Nkulu, Patrick Mavros, The Platinum Incubator, PlatAfrica finalists, Platandia, Prins & Prins, StoneX, Uwe Koetter and Vijay Shah Concepts.

Crosse added that the work on display was proof that Africa had the necessary skills to do more with its minerals after they were mined.

“Every product on display here is not just made in Africa; it is the embodiment of African excellence; and they are extraordinary, world-class and deserve to be celebrated alongside our miners.”

Gina White Collection founder Gina White highlighted that mass production and uniformity often overshadowed the unique and the handcrafted.

“These demonstrations serve as a powerful reminder of the artistry and dedication that underpin every intricate detail. As we watch the artisans at work, shaping precious metals and setting glistening stones, we are invited to appreciate not only the final creations but also the labour of love and expertise that brings them into being.”

The evening also marked the significant moment in history when geologist Dr Hans Merensky discovered the platinum group metals deposits in the Bushveld Igneous Complex in 1924. In celebration of the 100-year anniversary, the SADPMR launched the South Africa Platinum Centenary Commemoration.

MineShift was much more than a gathering, it was a key networking opportunity that aimed to shift mindsets towards developing a more sustainable future through Africa’s minerals, allowing all Africans to share in the riches of their land.