Big wigs in the African Mining sector came together at the 2018 African Mining Indaba, the biggest gathering for the sector. The 2018 African Mining Indaba ran from the 5th-8th of Februrary at the CTICC in Cape Town, South Africa.
A theme from the African Mining Indaba is a growing optimism over the future of South African Mining. Uncertainty over regulatory practices and legislative issues have created a lack of international investment and despondency over the mining sector. However, political shifts have inspired new hope.
Changes that need to be made to ensure a successful sector revolve around stabilization. “We need to see a stabilisation of the political environment, and rebuild trust between government, capital and labour,” says managing partner of Baker McKenzie, Morne van der Merwe. “I absolutely believe that if there is not a concerted effort to bring those stakeholders together to talk, to develop an environment of trust, it will take us a very long time to achieve what we want to achieve.” There also needs to be a greater focus on long-term economic development, in which all parties benefit.
Partner at Webber Wentzel, Jonathan Veeran argues that there needs to be greater polity cohesion. “The Department of Trade and Industry is creating incentive schemes to encourage investment, but they don’t have oversight over primary ministries like mineral resources, land affairs or environmental affairs,” says Veeran. “So while we’ve been making the right noises, someone needs to sit above and see the full spectrum of policy cohesion.”
Veeran argues further that there also needs to be an open access regulatory regime. “If you have access to all the information the minister uses to make a decision, you can test whether it’s fair or not,” says Veeran. “This will go a long way to combating corruption and improving the service of the DMR. Officials will know that any action is open to review and hopefully that will be an incentive to be more efficient.”
Van Der Merwe says “It’s vital that we see transformation in our economy, without which we won’t have a sustainable socio-economic environment.” He continues by saying that “We need to transform the mining sector, but we need to do it in such a way that there is stimulus for foreign direct investment.”
“At the moment the message is almost that we’re closed for business, and if we are not going to open the doors we are not going to see international development coming in to meet the kinds of challenges we have – stimulating the economy and creating jobs.”
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!