JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – While the South African mining sector still faces significant challenges, Chamber of Mines (CoM) CEO Roger Baxter believes that great opportunities still exist in the sector, particularly for emerging miners.
Presenting the keynote address at the Junior Indaba, in Johannesburg, on Wednesday, Baxter noted that the CoM played a leading role in promoting junior miners to its members, including smaller mining associations, such as the Clay Brick Association of South Africa and the Aggregate and Sand Producers Association of Southern Africa.
He highlighted that, of the 75 CoM members, 30 fell within the category of emerging miners.
“Our Emerging Miners’ Desk provides advice and support for juniors, while also acting as a resource centre for the chamber’s smaller member companies. It also seeks to recruit and assist new entrants to the South African mining industry in implementing programmes to ensure they understand and comply with the mining laws.”
Baxter added that the CoM had brought in a team of experienced ex-mining executives to support junior miners, wherever possible. He remarked that these emerging miners paid a reduced membership fee but had full access to the chamber’s resources.
“We have run a number of workshops with these emerging miners, covering a range of topics including regulatory frameworks [and] financial, environmental and health compliance matters, among others,” he pointed out.
Baxter commented that most emerging miners in South Africa operated in the coal sector, after which diamonds and, to a lesser extent, manganese and iron-ore were favourites among the juniors.
“The sector remains a critical part of the South African economy and emerging miners form an important segment of this. If laws and regulations that enable the growth of emerging miners are introduced, through consensus with industry stakeholders, this will certainly assist in improving the country’s economic prospects going forward,” he stated.