A Taste of Southern Africa’s Mining Environment

GBR explores the Southern African region where mineral riches tempt and political risk deters.

By Lindsay Davis

IMAGE: Vermeer

Long considered a regional and global mining powerhouse, South Africa has been engulfed by a series of political shocks and economic underperformance that have taken a significant toll on its position as Southern Africa’s leader in the extractives industry. Amid a backdrop of recession and accusations of corruption, in August ,President Jacob Zuma narrowly survived the eighth no-confidence motion held against him in parliament, underlining a country swirling with political dissent. Backed by President Zuma as part of his economic agenda to introduce stricter Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) rules, the new Mining Charter III now requires local mines be 30% black-owned at all times. South Africa’s Chamber of Mines, which represents over 90% of the country’s mining companies, has taken the government to court over the matter, and will argue that the charter constitutes an infringement on company law, international agreements and the constitution. Continue reading


Mosebenzi Zwane, South African Mineral Resources Minister

MACIG Connect Series

GBR speaks with South African Mineral Resources Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane at Africa Down Under about South Africa’s new mining charter and his relations with the Chamber of Mines.

In your presentation to delegates at African Down Under in Perth, you said investors have embraced the new mining charter. Can you elaborate on this?

We have met with both Russian and Chilean investors here in Perth. You probably heard in the morning when the presenter straight after me said we’ll come to South Africa, we’ll engage you, we want to work with you. Back home we have already signed about five section 11s and two of them (companies) have voluntarily said they want to comply with the charter. As we engage with them (mining companies) they are actually saying, five of them to be exact, that we are not lawmakers, you are lawmakers, we want to do business and we are happy there is certainty. So, we are moving forward, which is a positive aspect of the charter. We are engaging with the remaining members (of the Chamber of Mines) and with the Chamber of Mines itself. They need to come out and say what they don’t like. If they say they were not consulted and let’s assume that that is true, what is it that if they were consulted they would want to change? We need to deal with the issues and they need to stop running around saying they were not consulted. We have records that prove they were consulted. In fact, they are the most consulted in terms of our records. So, we are there and we are happy and we’re moving forward (sic).

Will you be meeting with Roger Baxter from the Chamber of Mines tomorrow or are you not allowed to have any conversations before the pending court case? Continue reading

Mining in South Africa: Cautious Optimism

The commodity cycle and political/regulatory uncertainly have hit South African mining hard. The way forward is technology.

By Eduardo Arcos

IMAGE: Courtesy of Vermeer

The last three years have proved a bumpy ride for the mining industry in South Africa. As Chinese previously insatiable appetite for commodities waned amid a decelerating economy, prices of metals plunged to recession-era lows, major exploration projects were brought to a halt and mine closures took place across the board. Nevertheless, the recent stabilization in the price of commodities has gradually restored confidence from investors, who are once again looking to this region of vast mineral wealth. The overall consensus is that the boom years are gone for good but there are still plenty of opportunities under the new normal, and investors are slowly getting back on board. Continue reading

Roger Baxter, Chief Operating Officer, Chamber of Mines, South Africa

South Africa continues to raise efficiency and safety standards in mining.

Roger-Baxter-BLOGDespite the global economic slowdown, low commodity prices coupled with industrial action in the mining sector, the industry remains a key pillar of the national economy. What contributions and what improvements can you highlight that have we seen over the past year?

Roger Baxter (RB): Despite the fact that certain components of South Africa’s mining sector are highly exposed to the European economy, the sector still contributes significantly to the development of the country. In 2013 the mining sector was responsible for roughly 8% of the gross domestic product on a nominal basis and a Continue reading

Mines Need Integrated Approach to Water Risks

Securing community and government support will require careful management of water resources.

SRK Consulting

2-BLOGMining projects will find it increasingly difficult to secure community and government support if they fail to manage impacts on surface water and groundwater – not only during the life of the mine but in the post-closure phase.

This warning from SRK Consulting (SA) partner and principal hydrologist Peter Shepherd comes as African countries follow global trends in clamping down ever more strictly on water pollution from a range of sources. Mining is the second largest industrial user of water, using between seven and nine billion cubic metres each year – the equivalent of the combined water usage of Nigeria and Malaysia. Continue reading

Vinesh Surajlall, Director, Sub Saharan Africa, Energyst Rental Solutions South Africa (Pty) Ltd.

Temporary power generation essential for miners off the African grid.

energyst-BLOGAs a leading supplier of temporary power generation what niche does Energyst fill in the mining sector?

Vinesh Surajlall (VS): Energyst is headquartered in Holland and its shareholders include the leading global brand, Caterpillar. Energyst’s business is split into two divisions: Standard Solutions and Custom Solutions. Standard solutions use resources that are available in our daily process and systems. Custom solutions require resources and processes specific to the project. These solutions normally require more customized design, engineering and project management. Continue reading

Roger Baxter, COO, Chamber of Mines, South Africa

GBR talks to South African Chamber of Mines COO, Roger Baxter.

Roger-Baxter-BLOGCould you give us a brief overview of the South African sector and its role in the South African economy?

RB: South Africa has one of the most developed mining sectors in the world. It is the world’s fifth largest mining economy from a GDP perspective. China has the world’s largest mining sector, followed by the United States, Australia and Canada. South Africa mines some 60 minerals and exports to over 100 countries in the world. The sector creates 1,4 million jobs in South Africa (500 000 directly and about 900 000 jobs through the multiplier and induced effects) and earns more than 50% of the country’s merchandise exports. Continue reading