South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) Minister Gwede Mantashe has reminded the country’s mining industry stakeholders that it is their collective responsibility to shape the future and build the South African mining industry brand.

He also urged stakeholders to play their part in working together to make the country a more competitive mining jurisdiction going forward. CHANTELLE KOTZE reports.

Speaking at the signing of the Mining Leadership Compact ahead of the opening of the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town in February, Mantashe said that the creation of a competitively growing mining industry must be defined by the “ethics, decency and integrity” demonstrated by all stakeholders working co-operatively together, including government, industry and labour.

“While there might be issues we differ on, on these fundamental matters, we are at one,” he noted.

The minister noted that while South Africa still offers excellent economic mining opportunities, the exploitation of such must be done in a socially responsible way with decent pay, labour rights and a safe workplace, all protected by strong trade unions.

“The sector must ensure that mining takes place with a strong focus on the environment and on the interests of all stakeholders, including those who live in mining areas,” he urged.

The aim of the Mining Leadership Compact is to set the tone for a strategy that will seek to attain Vision 2030 – a vision that seeks to make South Africa a competitive mining jurisdiction borne out of sustainable growth and meaningful transformation.

The compact contains areas of focus which all of the stakeholders believe provide the basis for a roadmap to attain Vision 2030.

The 12 commitments, as set out in the compact, seek to address issues such as ethics and good governance, effective regulation, lawful behaviour, stable stakeholder relationships, new enterprise development, beneficiation, investment promotion, infrastructure development, innovation, working and living conditions and community empowerment and development.

The 12 commitments include:

Ethical and accountable leadership;
An enabling regulatory environment, a well regulated sector, a law abiding industry characterised by stable relations between stakeholders;
New enterprise development;
Beneficiation and strengthened economic linkages;
Exploration and availability of geological information;
Investment promotion;
Infrastructure;
Decent working and living conditions;
Research, development and innovation;
Decent work;
Managing external shocks and ensuring a just transition; and
Community empowerment and development.
The compact was signed at the meeting of the Mining Leadership Forum on 4 February 2019 by Minister Mantashe on behalf of the DMR and mining stakeholders; the Minerals Council of South Africa (MSCA) and the South African Mining Development Association (SAMDA) on behalf of the leadership of organised business; and the leadership of organised labour, including the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), UASA and Solidarity, but excluded the signature of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) who was absent at the signing of the compact.

“By signing and implementing this compact, we demystify the popular belief that mining in South Africa is a sunset industry,” Mantashe said.

“We commit all efforts to ensuring that we have a sector that will have a positive impact on the economy and the country at large for many more years to come.

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