Following reflection on Mining Charter III, which is seen as a “positive game changer” and a shift in the local political landscape, discussions at this year’s Junior Indaba will be tailored around ‘the revival of the junior’ and the prospects of achieving a thriving industry.
The conference for junior mining explorers, developers and investors aims to address topics regarding new projects, the latest developments in financing and remodelling of operations, besides others, says event organiser and conference specialist Resources 4 Africa.
The event – to be held at the Country Club, in Johannesburg, from June 4 to 5 – is a key platform for open and frank discussions among industry, investors and government.
The 2019 Junior Indaba will focus on the latest developments affecting the sector, including changes to Mining Charter III – officially gazetted in September 2018 – in terms of access to finance for juniors; the performance and outlook for commodities, including touching on strategic metals and a session dedicated to coal; as well as innovative and exciting junior projects in South Africa and elsewhere.
The Junior Indaba will interrogate the current state of the sector and pose key questions, such as the implications of Mining Charter III for the junior mining sector, the vision for a world-class, thriving junior mining and exploration sector, as well as the contribution of juniors to the Southern African Development Community coal mining industry and how they manage current market challenges.
Other issues to be addressed include the requirements for restarting an abandoned mine or resuscitating a nonoperational junior mining project, which metals are currently most in demand and which will be in demand, and the way in which the situation has changed in terms of juniors gaining access to funding.
The Junior Indaba also aims to ensure that there is a balance of speakers, with representation from every stakeholder unit, says Resources 4 Africa CEO Paula Munsie. She adds that the market dictates the speakers and topics every year.
Mining sector giants, such as international corporation De Beers former Africa exploration manager Professor Mike de Wit, mining company AngloGold Ashanti former Africa CEO Alan Smith and coal exploration company Canyon Coal executive chairperson Vuslat Bayoglu will share their insights on how to succeed in the ever-changing and unpredictable market of junior mining.
Other speakers include industry organisation Minerals Council South Africa CEO Roger Baxter, Department of Mineral Resources director-general advocate Thabo Mokoena, Australian minerals explorer Orion Minerals CEO Errol Smart, empowerment network Women in Mining South Africa chairperson Thabile Makgala and mining and exploration organisation Botswana Chamber of Mines CEO Charles Siwawa.
Munsie hopes that investors, government representatives, policymakers, regulators, infrastructure and energy parastatals, legal advisories and law firms, as well as representatives from the mining services industry, will leave with a better understanding of current sector challenges, investment opportunities in new projects, a review of changes under Mining Charter III and changes in the investment outlook through the engaging content planned for all delegates.
“Our format is different from other events in that we tackle industry issues head-on, with open and raw honesty, coupled with representation, which is vital from all industry stakeholders. With this in play, we can objectively debate key industry concerns from all sides of the spectrum,” Munsie notes.
She adds that the conference has been fortunate in its gradual rise of attendees since its founding in 2015. This year, the organisers look forward to hosting between 200 and 300 attendees while maintaining its format of providing a small and intimate platform.
Meanwhile, the conference organisers invited university mining students last year to discuss changes in the industry with regard to the workplace and the new skills requirements, owing to modernisation and mechanisation.
“We always encourage the attendance of students and young entrepreneurs so that they can participate and learn from the wealth of experience of the speakers at the Indaba.”
Further, Munsie states that last year’s Junior Indaba brought about renewed optimism, as President Cyril Ramaphosa and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe fully understand the intricacies of the sector, which has also boosted industry morale.
She adds that it was especially encouraging to see participants’ appreciation for mining sector stakeholders that were paying more attention to the industry’s burning issues.
The Department of Mineral Resources hailed the conference as an important part of the sector, as it is the only platform that the department has to directly engage with juniors, which are significant contributors to the country’s economy.