Mining remains the bedrock of the South African economy, but proper planning and execution should take centre stage if the sector is to meaningfully contribute to all its people, this is according to a new report on mining.

A recently released report by Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection observes that, the sector contains massive potential to make such a contribution. This is informed by two considerations.

“Mining can serve as a catalyst for an industrialisation drive, a skills and technological revolution and, broadly, as a bedrock of societal efforts to deal with poverty and inequality,” read part of the report, Towards Mining Vision 2030.

“The impact that mining can have on the entire economy beggars the pessimistic belief that mining is a ‘sunset industry’. South Africa needs consciously to exploit this comparative and competitive advantage,” adds the report.

The report calls for strategic planning and focused interventions to produce the inverse of the “resources curse”.

The resources curse speaks to challenges that afflict most minerals exporting economies such as diversifying the economy, major swings in economic growth and value of the currency, limited diversification of the economy and difficulties in dealing with inequality and corruption.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has been calling for expanded ownership patterns in the sector from the current one which is skewed in favor of big mining companies.

The report also reflects on the simmering tensions within the sector around ownership which AMCU President, Joseph Mathunjwa, has been addressing over the past few years.

“It is logical that, today, contestation around inclusion of black people in the mainstream of the economy plays out most intensely in the mining sector,” says the report.

“This is reflective of a deep sense of grievance around sharing of the sheer wealth of mineral endowments that South Africa commands.”

South Africa’s mining sector is one of the biggest globally with Citibank estimates placing it to about 30 trillion rand.

 

22 May 2018 by Trust Matsilele