29 September 2010
South Africa offers mining investors huge growth potential and proven economic and political stability, President Jacob Zuma told business people at a gala dinner hosted by the Antwerp World Diamond Center on Tuesday.
Zuma, in Belgium for the third annual European Union-South Africa summit, said the successful hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup had “demonstrated to the world that we are a country that can deliver on its undertakings.”
Zuma said the mining industry has been the foundation for economic development in South Africa for well over a century.
“Despite considerable diversification of our economy in the recent past, the mining sector remains a key variable in our economic growth equation.”
In 2009, the mining industry contributed more than 30 percent to the country’s total export revenue, and employed 9 percent of the country’s economically active population.
“That is currently just below half-a-million direct jobs and a further half-a-million indirect jobs,” Zuma said. “As the global economy recovers, and the demand for commodities increases, real opportunities for maximum returns in the mining sector exist.”
He said South Africa was well-placed to take full advantage of improving prospects in the sector.
“Our country continues to host significant known reserves of mineral commodities, with almost 60 minerals being actively mined,” Zuma said, adding: “A large number of these known reserves were discovered using conventional exploration methodologies and technologies.”
South Africa’s mineral assets, excluding energy commodities such as coal, uranium and thorium, are currently valued at around US$2.5-trillion, with estimates suggesting that the country’s mineral resources would be exploitable for over a century to come.
This was supported by extensive existing mining infrastructure, enabling investors to obtain maximum value from their investment in South Africa while at the same time contributing to socio-economic development.