Mantashe hopeful of turning Limpopo, North West, Northern Cape into new mining hotspots

28th September 2021 By: Donna Slater - Creamer Media Contributing Editor and Photographer

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe hopes to spur growth in mining hubs within Limpopo, the North West and the Northern Cape provinces with the launch of the Limpopo Mining Investment Conference, which was held on September 28.

During a keynote address, he explained that the idea of increasing focus on mining within specific regions (in this case the three aforementioned provinces) came about after a recent visit to Australia by Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) representatives.

In addition, Mantashe said the failed insurrection “experiment” of mid-July also made the DMRE “think bigger”, as two major economic provinces (Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal) were impacted by disruptions to business and trade.

Mantashe noted that, in Australia, DMRE representatives had learned that a lot of mining focus was put into the region of Western Australia and that this had led to a number of mining head offices being established in the region.

“Here in South Africa, we believe that three provinces can develop into massive mining headquarters in the country, he said.

Mantashe added, however, that growing mining in Limpopo, the North West and the Northern Cape should not take away the important role that can be played by Mpumalanga, Gauteng and the Free State in expanding mining.

In Mpumalanga – a coal mining hub – he alluded that investment into coal mining should not be hampered by “everybody . . . attacking coal . . . because it is a dirty product”, but instead to capitalise on the commodity because “the more people jump at it, the more aggressive it grows, the higher demand is”.

Nonetheless, Mantashe expressed his enthusiasm to get local and international mining companies to set up head offices in Limpopo, the North West and Northern Cape, especially, as an effort to grow the economy in those provinces and localise beneficiation.

COURT CASE & EXPLORATION

Briefly acknowledging the DMRE’s recent loss in a court case brought by the Minerals Council South Africa in 2019, he said the event was “not a train smash”, having not been about the once empowered, always empowered principle, but rather about whether black capitalists were being created in the mining industry.

He suggested that not enough new black capitalists were being made, especially in the mining industry and that even with vendor financing, banks were only standing to profit, without producing new black capitalists.

In this respect, he said mining schemes needed to create new black capitalists who could be “seen” and “counted”.

Meanwhile, Mantashe said attendees at the investment conference should interact with representatives from the Council of Geoscience, which he said was expanding exploration in South Africa.