We need a stronger Eskom if we want to save mining, says Mantashe

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Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe told delegates at the 2019 Investing in African Mining Indaba that after restoring policy certainty to the South African mining sector, the next great task would be to secure reliable and cost-effective power to companies.

Mantashe said the department’s new approach to facilitating mining investment in SA, which he calls "Team DMR", stands little chance of succeeding in allowing for profitable mining if South Africa continues to languish without secure power supply.

The Mining Indaba is an international gathering of the mining industry, investors, government and labour at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, set to take place from Monday to Thursday.

Mantashe said one sign that government was serious about securing and protecting investment in the mining sector was that the Department of Mineral Resources had brought finality to the issue of the Mining Charter.

"We are moving at a faster pace than before. The finalisation of the Mining Charter is an example of that. We had challenges in concluding this, but we have engaged with the matter and we saw it to completion. The delays the department has seen before will not continue to be a problem," said Mantashe.

Mantashe said, however, that mining companies were right to demand energy security from South Africa, with an embattled Eskom struggling to get back to an optimal state, both financially and in terms of governance.

"We cannot say that we are ready to give investors the stability they need until we have resolved energy. Part of that is getting Eskom on track and ensuring that there are renewable energy solutions to get more consumers energy without using the grid," Mantashe said.

At the same panel discussion, Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies told delegates that opportunities which would present themselves with a thriving mining sector, included potential to export value-added goods instead of raw materials.

"We have manufacturing examples in South Africa ... How we formulate policy is something we have worked on and we have much agreement in the automotive space about fuels," said Davies.

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