#MiningIndaba: Zwane pleads for support for junior miners

Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane speaks in Cape Town on the first day of the Mining Indaba 2017 Conference, the world's foremost conference on mining in Africa. (Rodger Bosch, AFP)
Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane speaks in Cape Town on the first day of the Mining Indaba 2017 Conference, the world's foremost conference on mining in Africa. (Rodger Bosch, AFP)

Cape Town – Mines Minister Mosebenzi Zwane is hopeful that amendments to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) will create more opportunities for junior miners to enter the sector.

Speaking at an investment dialogue about opportunities for junior miners in the extractive industry at the 2017 Mining Indaba, Zwane said the South African mining sector continues to be driven by large conglomerates that employ thousands of people and are listed on stock exchanges across the world.

“But junior miners should also start taking up space in the extractive industry and investors must support them.”

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, who also addressed the audience, said his department started a mining hub in 2016 through which opportunities will be created for smaller suppliers of mining equipment.

Davies said the Department of Trade and Industry is also making progress with beneficiation efforts, such as the development of fuel cell technology and initiatives in the field of titanium technology.

Mazwi Tunyiswa, head of basic metals and mining at the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), said in his presentation that the state-owned financier does not provide financing to junior miners in the exploration phase – only at post-feasibility stage.

He added that the IDC also had to decrease funding for junior miners due the poor economic environment.

Mzwanele Manyi, president of the Progressive Professionals Forum, who facilitated the dialogue session, took him to task over the remark. “There’s a common gripe among black business that the IDC is worse than banks when it comes to providing finance. Instead, you should be more forgiving.”

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