Mining industry must innovate to remain relevant – Baleni

5th October 2017 By: Anine Kilian - Contributing Editor Online

JOHANNESBURG ( – South Africa’s mining industry must be creative and innovative to remain relevant, says F11 Consulting director Frans Baleni.

“For example, mine dumps, which are in abundance, can also create mine opportunities. [Industry] must also embrace mechanisation, people are ready for it. There are various ways the mining industry can sustain itself in the future,” he said during a panel discussion on South Africa’s future mining opportunities at the Joburg Indaba on Wednesday.

He pointed out that there was a high level of inequality and unemployment in South Africa, which politicians could not ignore.

“We want to sit down with Mineral Resources Minster Mosebenzi Zwane and engage with him regarding opportunities in the sector. If all players in the industry can accept that there is a need to transform, we need to agree on a way to reach our destination,” he said.

Allan Gray portfolio manager Sandy McGregor, meanwhile, told delegates at the Indaba that there were interesting investment opportunities in South Africa, but noted that the investment sector was permeated with pessimism, especially in the mining industry.

“There are opportunities and the sector might turn out better than people think. We have a world economy that is growing strongly; it’s the strongest it’s been in over a decade. This momentum could . . . make commodity prices higher next year,” he said.

McGregor added that the outcome of the African National Congress’ fifty-fourth national elective coference, in December, may also have a positive impact on investment.

“A decision could be made that will have a positive impact on markets. A vote could be made that takes decisions away from kleptocrats to a new group that will change the direction [in which] government is going,” he noted.

Canyon Coal executive chairperson Vuslat Bayoglu said he was positive about South Africa’s mining industry and about fossil fuels.

“I believe in renewables but the world needs fossil fuels for baseload power,” he said.

He added that black economic empowerment (BEE) charters that were negotiated properly and consulted all stakeholders, have played a role in the transformation of the industry.

“Instead of focusing on the negative, we should focus on the positive. I’m pro BEE charters, as long as they are negotiated properly,” he said.