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On-The-Air (06/10/2023)

Martin Creamer discusses climate change, exploration and platinum group metals

6th October 2023

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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Every Friday, SAfm’s radio anchor Sakina Kamwendo speaks to Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News & Mining Weekly. Reported here is this Friday’s At the Coalface transcript:

Kamwendo: Steps are being taken in South Africa to ensure that fighting climate change also creates jobs.

Creamer: There was a very important conference in Midrand attended by hundreds of scientists. It was the Oppenheimer Research Conference, and it is the 12th one. I think it was really showing a nexus between fixing the planet and also helping people to progress. Speaking there was Naledi Pandor, International Relations Minister, but wearing her science hat. She was saying that with South Africa’s Draft White Paper coming through, the government is placing massive emphasis on not only protecting the planet, but also enabling that protection to create jobs that help to eliminate poverty where possible and to stop inequality.

So, those joint efforts, I found very interesting, because the main theme that came through was from the world renowned conservationist, Jane Goodall. She came through and she said if the world continues, with business as usual, to destroy the forests, to destroy the wetlands, to destroy the peatlands and the grasslands the way they are doing it at the moment, we are doomed. So, it was a clarion call there and you can see Oppenheimer Research putting R3-million behind getting African research for the whole of the continent to try and help both the planet and its people.

Kamwendo: This week’s Joburg Indaba highlighted South Africa’s huge untapped potential as an exploration destination.

Creamer: It was coming through from all directions at this week’s Joburg Indaba that there is an opportunity to turn South Africa’s economy into a more positive spin, in the very short term, if the way opened is for 5 000 plus permits to be approved for exploration and mining in South Africa. That was made clear by so many speakers. Just through approval of permitting for mining and exploration, an economic shift can be set in motion by investment in exploration being opened up. There is a pent-up demand here.

They are talking about South Africa as having extraordinarily untapped and exceptionally good exploration potential. For some time, major South African mining companies, Anglo Americans  and the bigger companies, have been exploring outside of South Africa. Because they were so concentrated in South Africa, they tended, in the last couple of decades, to look outside of it. You now see Anglo doing copper mining in Peru and you will see them in the UK doing special fertiliser materials in the UK. But now they are starting to swing back, saying they want to relook at exploration potential but they need some sort of equal jurisdiction type of approach because exploration is such a risky business. They need some sort of incentive, like you see in all the other mining jurisdictions, but which are still not here in South Africa at the moment.

With incentivisation, we’ll see a turn of the tide when it comes to exploration and mining investment, because South African mining is shrinking at the moment. Unless they go for a new era of exploration and getting mining permits, you going to have a situation of this mining industry no longer contributing to the economy the way it has in the past. Of course, also essential is for South Africa to fight crime and corruption and get the energy right and the logistics right. That was really emphasised, because they say the moment there is another boom, if you don't have the logistics, you just can't supply China, you can supply the world so you don't bring in the revenue that is possible. A lot around this came up in the Joburg Indaba this week.

Kamwendo: Good news in the mining sector is that a mining licence is being sought for a new platinum group metals mine.

Creamer: You can see now with Southern Palladium, they only listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange last year, they also listed in Australia. You can see how the mines can actually do their exploration drilling very fast, provided they get a licence to do so. In a short space of time, Southern Palladium has moved from an exploration site to becoming a development site.

Therefore, Southern Palladium announced this week that it has submitted a mining right application for their Bengwenyama platinum group metals project in Limpopo. Being able to move into a developmental phase so fast gives is indicative of the validity of what was being said at this week’s Joburg Indaba, where it was stated that approving the 5 000 outstanding exploration and mining permits can create a positive economic shift for South Africa. As they were saying at the Oppenheimer Research Conference, let's not just have business as usual.

The application coming in from Southern Palladium, a platinum group metals mining company, is not only for the mining of platinum group metals, but also for the mining of gold, copper, chrome, cobalt, silver and nickel, because it is time now that when we do we  go into Mother Earth, we do things properly. We don't keep going back. So, whatever is in there, needs to come out for the good of our economy and the planet.

Kamwendo: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News & Mining Weekly.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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