Mining Indaba: Global commodity highs can't hide the crisis at home

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As the Investing in African Mining Indaba takes place in Cape Town this week, even the stratospheric commodity prices cannot mask the grim realities facing South Africa's mining industry ranging from licensing and other administrative frustrations to crippling infrastructure woes. 

The industry is on a good wicket financially, with soaring commodity prices helping the value of South Africa's mining production to grow to just under R1.2 trillion in 2021, up from R910 billion in 2020. But there is deep concern over the continued domestic challenges that face the industry and greatly imperil its future. 

Administrative issues are hamstringing investment and, according to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy's numbers, 4 500 prospecting rights, mining rights, and other authorisations are outstanding. The Minerals Council South Africa estimates this is bottling up about R30 billion in investment. While delays in obtaining authorisations for renewable energy projects by miners is holding back a further R65 billion that the industry is prepared to bring to the table.

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