Showcasing SA’s minerals, jewels

20 April 2004

The recently launched South African Minerals Pavilion at Johannesburg International Airport will showcase the country’s vast array of mineral resources as well as the jewellery designs of local producers.

The Pavilion, a partnership between Harmony Gold, Mintek, Airports Company South Africa, the Department of Minerals and Energy and the Department of Arts and Culture, aims to expose travellers to a wide range of South African arts and technology.

Minerals and Energy Affairs Minister Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, speaking at the launch, said that apart from marketing local products, the Pavilion was also a celebration of the many South Africans who are involved in the mining industry.

“People must benefit from the value of our land, and these facilities will allow disadvantaged local entrepreneurs and students to display their work”, Mlambo-Ngcuka said.

Products to be displayed at the Pavilion will include jewellery, pottery, ceramics, chemicals, and articles of national heritage, including items from the ancient Mapungubwe culture in Limpopo. The products will not be for sale at the Pavilion.

Among the products on display will be some from the Kgabane Rural Development Jewellery Project, a Mintek unit that trains craftswomen from impoverished areas in creating products combining traditional and contemporary design, materials and fabrication skills.

The Pavilion is the result of proposals contained in the Mining Charter to develop the country’s minerals beneficiation industry beyond mining and processing.

The minister said different percentages of beneficiation were being formulated for each mineral in the mining sector, and that the requirements for gold producers would be announced soon.

Operating costs of the Pavilion are expected to total R3-million over the next three years. The Pavilion will also act as a showroom, and later become a museum and will fall under the ambit of the Department of Arts and Culture.

The Pavilion is the second such project to be launched this year. Earlier this month, Mlambo-Ngcuka launched the Silplat platinum jewellery project in Cape Town, a joint venture with Impala Platinum, Italian jeweller Silmar, local jewellery producer SA Link, and corporate finance house Micofin.

Silplat expects to beneficiate more than three tons of platinum a year, generating around $100-million in annual sales, 85% of it for the export market.

Source: BuaNews