Speaking at a conference of the Pre-Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) last night, Gwede Mantashe, South Africa’s Minister for Natural Resources and Energy, has recently been able to soften some of the country’s gloomy looks.
The theme of the discussion was: Promote exploration and industrialization through localization to increase mineral production. It provided Mantashe with an ideal platform to keep abreast of the latest developments and opportunities in the South African mineral sector.
He was quick to counter the decline in South Africa in terms of attracting investment. This was highlighted in the Fraser Institute’s most recent annual survey of mining companies. The report ranked the country 60th out of 77 in terms of investment attractiveness. Last year it ranked 40th out of 76.
“Given these numbers, I am pleased to announce that we have welcomed investments in our industry and economy over the past three weeks,” said Mantashe.
The report also highlighted that South Africa’s budgeted exploration spending hit a two-decade low in 2020, accounting for less than 1% of global exploration spending.
In addition, the report points out that South Africa has the lowest percentage of all African exploration spending – from 35% in 2002 to 7.8% in 2020. The country also ranks 11th among the 13th in the survey included African countries only from Zimbabwe and Tanzania and immediately behind the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“I invite investors to work with us to put the South African mining and energy sector on an upward trend.”
He reiterated that he is working to develop a “new competitive exploration strategy” that will target no less than 3% of global mining exploration spending. “This will be the country’s exploration plan to attract investment.
Further good news for South Africa can be inferred from the fact that precious metals producers have released a series of record results in the past few weeks.