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Govt developing critical minerals strategy to support green industrialisation – Mantashe

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe

29th June 2023

By: Terence Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe reports that government is in the process of developing a critical minerals strategy for South Africa, which will seek to support green-economy value chains domestically and abroad.

Speaking at the Northern Cape Mining and Energy Investment Conference, Mantashe reported that government was monitoring global developments around critical minerals, which he termed a “new theatre of global economic struggle” to ensure that the strategy supported South Africa’s industrialisation aspirations.

“It is no secret that our country is well endowed with these critical minerals and can use them not only for beneficiation but also to position our country to be a strategic partner,” Mantashe said.

Several other large commodity producing countries, including Australia and Canada, have already developed elaborate critical minerals strategies as the pressure to decarbonise increases globally.

Likewise, key consuming countries are mapping out how they intend to ensure security of supply of those metals and minerals ­– from antimony to zinc, and with everything from lithium, copper and platinum in between –  that will be required for the transition of electricity systems to renewables, as well as to support a shift to battery electric and fuel-cell electric mobility.

“To ensure that South Africa reaps maximum benefit from these critical commodities, we are currently developing a critical minerals strategy for the country which will enable us to support the development of domestic and global value chains for the green economy,” Mantashe said.

He added that the exploration fund being established in partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation would prioritise critical minerals projects “as these will support our green economy trajectory and support our just energy transition”. 

Mantashe also used the platform to highlight the fact that the Northern Cape held significant reserves of several critical minerals, including zinc, copper, manganese and some rare earth elements.

“There can be no ambiguity in saying, the full potential of the Northern Cape mineral wealth remains largely untapped.

“We therefore call on investors to look to this province for investments into more exploration projects,” Mantashe said, while again promising that a new cadastral system, which is seen as key to revitalising exploration, would be procured soon.

“It is expected that the adjudication process will be finalised in the near future and therefore take us a step closer to the finalisation of this [procurement] process.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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