3 February 2014
A major shift in how mining companies operate in Africa is required for the industry to contribute effectively to the continent’s growth, South African Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu told the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Monday.
“This should entail a shift from the exporting of largely raw material to ensuring that minerals serve as a catalyst for accelerated industrialisation through mineral value-addition,” Shabangu said in her opening address to the 2nd annual Mining Indaba Ministerial Symposium.
“This will also require development corridors that are a subject of multi-purpose infrastructure development.”
Shabangu pointed out that mineral resources generally occured in remote areas that were often characterised by high levels of poverty, the marginalisation of host indigenous communities, and a lack of of both physical and social infrastructure.
She said that the financing of multi-purpose infrastructure development should not be the burden of one stakeholder at the expense of another, as had been the case in the past.
“It requires clear goals and objectives to be outlined, infrastructure requirements delineated and costed, and partners in development to agree on a creative win-win formula for financing of such infrastructure that will deliver ‘Africa’s Promise’ and enable the emergence of a resilient African continent.”
She further stressed the importance for African mining development to be integrated and interlinked with infrastructure development initiatives such as the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa that had been adopted by the African Union (AU).
The programme, which is led by the AU and chaired by South African President Jacob Zuma, seeks to integrate regional and continental infrastructure networks and services in order to improve intra-African trade and promote socio-economic development on the continent.
Shabangu also highlighted the need to establish enduring partnerships between Africa and mining development partners, based on their respective strengths, in order to achieve mutual development priorities.
However, she said it was important that Africa’s “mining vision” be driven and led by Africans, who had to ensure that Africa’s mineral resources were exploited in an equitable and optimal manner that underpinned sustainable, inclusive growth and socio-economic development.
At the same time, the exploitation of these resources “should be undertaken in a manner that addresses environmental concerns, especially on water and biodiversity and other related mining pollution”.