Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe has emphasised the importance of partnerships between mining companies, labour, as well as communities, in order for mining to be sustainable.
Speaking at the first provincial Mining Indaba taking place in Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal, Minister Mantashe indicated that the partnerships would ensure that the country realises its objective of a meaningfully transformed, competitive and growing mining sector.
“It’s not competitiveness and growth versus transformation. Both are required in order for the sustainability of the sector,” Minister Mantashe said.
KwaZulu-Natal currently has 23 operational mines, operating mainly in coal, heavy mineral sands, as well as sand and aggregate.
“Mining is one of the key sectors that can assist us to create more black businesspeople, in order for the economy to be more balanced,” he said.
The Minister further emphasised the importance of rehabilitation of mining sites, which have the potential to create jobs, while restoring the land that has been mined.
The two-day indaba presents an opportunity for those in mining to work towards transforming the sector and unlock mining value chain opportunities in the province.
Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC, Mr Sihle Zikalala, junior miners, mining equipment and instruments manufacturers, engineering companies, project financers and emerging entrepreneurs are attending the indaba.
While mining has come under pressure in South Africa, it still is an important player in the local economy.
The industry contributes R8 for every R100 produced by the national economy and employs one in every 40 working individuals (or 2, 5% of the entire workforce) according to StatsSA
The government stats agency also reports that whatever the outcome of renewed deliberations around the future of South African mining, efforts to ensure a sustained growth path are vital to the livelihoods of communities that depend on this industry.