Business 8.9.2017 10:23 am

Chamber decries state of SA mining industry

Mining file picture.

Mining file picture.

Business confidence in SA is at its lowest levels in more than three decades, says Chamber of Mines chief executive Roger Baxter.

The Chamber of Mines on Friday decried the state of the South African mining industry, saying the industry was in crisis and that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) had provided no assistance to help the industry.

Chamber of Mines chief executive Roger Baxter said that business confidence in South Africa was at its lowest levels in more than three decades.

“The South African mining sector is renowned for its long cold winters and short hot summers,” Baxter said.

“There are a number of critical factors impacting South Africa’s investment attractiveness … including the fact the mining industry has lost confidence in the DMR minister.”

Baxter was addressing the third and final day of the Paydirt 2017 Africa Down-under conference in Perth on Friday.

The Chamber is currently embroiled in a court challenge with the DMR trying to interdict the implementation of the controversial Reviewed Mining Charter which sets new stringent targets for the industry.

Baxter said that key governance and policy challenges in South Africa had eroded business and investor confidence, undermining investment.

“Policy and regulatory uncertainty have ‘frozen’ new investment in the sector,” Baxter said.

“Real mining GDP in 2016 [R226 billion] is smaller than it was in 1994 [R242 billion]. Real mining fixed investment has shrunk over the past two years. The industry made an accumulated loss of over R30 billion in 2015.”

Baxter said 65 percent of South African platinum mining was loss-making this year.

“The DMR has provided no assistance to help the industry through the crisis,” Baxter said.

“The economic opportunity cost of the failure to get the policy, legislative, administrative and operating environment right to promote investment, growth, transformation and job creation in South African mining is material.”

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