In his inaugural State of the Nation Address in Parliament, in Cape Town, President Cyril Ramaphosa urged all South Africans to view the South African mining industry as a “sunrise industry”.
Consequently, the Mandela Mining Precinct public–private partnership is a critically important catalyst for the revival of the broader mining cluster, says industry employers’ organisation Minerals Council South Africa.
“We currently operate in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. We believe that, if the Mandela Mining Precinct realises the solutions to the challenges facing the mining cluster, it can help with the competitiveness, as well as the transformation, of the entire sector,” says Minerals Council modernisation and safety senior executive Sietse van der Woude.
It is through this sustainable competitiveness and transformation that the positive contribution that mining makes towards the prosperity and wellbeing of South Africans will be strengthened, he emphasises.
Around the time of the inception of the precinct – of which the Minerals Council is a proud partner, the Minerals Council has also been reworking its strategy, which had primarily been focused on advocacy and lobbying.
As part of its strategic objectives, the Minerals Council agreed to enhance the positive contribution that mining makes specifically through research, development and innovation (RDI). As part of its commitment to this public–private partnership, the Minerals Council co-invested R1 for every R2 that government had invested in the precinct. This is in addition to the R500-million to R1-billion that mining companies invest in RDI. The Minerals Council also facilitates the nomination of senior company representatives from its members who participate in steering committees at the precinct.
Government made an initial investment with the clear understanding that, if there is delivery, then more investment will follow. Government conducts a yearly three-year budget cycle and the commitment to the Mandela Mining Precinct funding has always been sustained, he explains.
“We have very high expectations for the Mandela Mining Precinct; therefore, we want to ensure that everything that takes place at the precinct is aligned with industry needs. It is a flagship example of a good public–private partnership,” Van der Woude concludes.