Artisanal mining is being formalised to create an avenue to mine sterilised deposits, energy and resource minister Gwede Mantashe has said.
Speaking at the 2020 Junior Indaba for explorers, developers, and investors in junior mining, Mr Mantashe said that government will also focus on the implementation of the Small-Scale Mining Framework.
Partnerships with aligned departments and entities will be formed to leverage on their resources and experiences for maximum impact; widen reach by providing technical, social regulatory support for community-based projects, and develop an artisanal and SSM policy, he said.
“As we develop a comprehensive programme to support junior miners, we will finalise work underway with development finance institutions and the private sector,” said Mr Mantashe. As of the 1st of April 2020, the Department has approved R38 million towards rehabilitation costs, exploration, and capitalization of small-scale projects.
“I encourage junior miners to look beyond the exploitation of minerals to other present opportunities throughout the mining value chain.”
Mineral beneficiation is still a strategic objective for the country following the adoption of the mineral beneficiation policy as articulated in the White Paper: Mining and Minerals Policy for South Africa. South Africa also aim to maximise the value derived from extractive industries.
“We continue to work with all stakeholders to find solutions to our electricity challenges.”
He called on all stakeholders in the mining industry to prioritise the health and safety of all persons at mines.
Historic data on mine accidents reveals that that more fatalities reported occur during the last quarter of each calendar year. The energy Department, he said, has intensified its monitoring and evaluation of the mine health and safety management systems through ongoing inspections and audits.
Mantashe said that his the Department is working to ensure transparency and short turnaround times for the processing of mining and prospecting licenses.
“As I have previously indicated, the future development of our mining and minerals industry rests with the junior mining sector. We need to invest more on skills development and attract the requisite skills for the industry to grow. I look forward to our continued engagements,” Mantashe concluded.