The mining industry will receive a major boost after the government agreed to start an energy generating company outside of Eskom as the state owned company’s operational problems threatened the economy.
Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe told the 2020 Investing In African Mining Indaba currently being held in Cape Town that the government aimed to address structural problems at Eskom.
Mantashe received a round of applause when he informed delegates of plans to start an electricity company and also allow mining companies to generate their own energy.
Additionally, he drew attention to government’s intention to bring more renewables in to the frame and reduce the weight of coal in the portfolio.
Minister Mantashe was quite consistent in his messaging regarding the Fourth Industrial Revolution noting that it is not a destroyer of jobs, but could provide growth opportunities.
Lane further added, “Digitisation will change things and there will be those that benefit from it and those who might not, but Minister Mantashe endorsing it as an enabler of jobs is a good thing.”
It came through clearly that the minister is linking the issue of new mining licences to the creation of jobs in the future and is challenging mining companies to ensure that the human capital aspect of new operations is considered as a matter of great importance. Additionally, he highlighted that operating mining companies should look at their current staff complement and evaluate how they re-skill employees for the work force of the future.
“He committed to working with investors to improve the regulatory framework and add needed certainty. It is quite notable that the minister has changed the nature of the dialogue with industry and we are seeing the benefit of that. At the core he is having a more direct and productive conversation with the industry,” Lane said.
Drawing attention to the petroleum bill, he stated that if given the space to have a proper dialogue, the petroleum industry could be quite successful – getting it right the first-time round.
Looking to the future of the industry Minister Mantashe noted that exploration is key for his department.
Lane said, “The future of the industry is to ensure that we open up reserves and welcome new players into the market. It is also encouraging to hear that the department is improving their data through research, which bodes well for the future of the mining industry and goes a long way in driving the narrative that we are still an investment destination of choice for resources.”
This article was originally published on Business Report Online.