Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies has described minerals beneficiation as the “first pillar” on which South Africa’s reindustrialisation should be built and has reported that his department is working with the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and others to integrate beneficiation-supporting regulatory instruments into the amended Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA).
Speaking at the launch of the fifth iteration of South Africa’s Industrial Policy Action Plan (Ipap), Davies said the aim was to ensure that more value was added to domestic mineral products ahead of export, so as to extract greater economic value and employment from the country’s remaining mineral resources, estimated to be worth $2.5-trillion.
But he also saw the potential to create access to industrial minerals as South Africa’s “new long-term competitive advantage” for a domestic manufacturing sector that no longer benefited from access to the world’s cheapest electricity.
“By access to industrial minerals, we don’t mean that you can buy it at the London Metal Exchange price, or at an import-parity price. We mean that it must be available in the form that is required for downstream manufacturing and also at a price which is competitive,” he explained.
“I know from engagement across the world that if we can score this, we score many, many more industrial investments in this country.”
During the Ipap horizon, which covers the three-year period from April 1, 2013, through to March 31, 2016, a study would be undertaken to develop a “strategy and action plan” designed to advanced backward and forward beneficiation across five resource subsectors.
The study is being undertaken by the Industrial Development Corporation, with guidance from the Department of Trade and Industry, the National Treasury, the DMR and the Department of Science and Technology, and covers the following subsectors: ferrous minerals and metals, platinum-group metals, titanium and pigments, polymers, and mining inputs.
MINERAL VALUE-CHAINS STRATEGY
It is understood that Dr Paul Jourdan, who was one of the coauthors of the African National Congress’ (ANC’s) State Intervention in the Minerals Sector (Sims) policy document, has been commissioned to conduct the Mineral Value-Chains Strategy (MVS) research.
The MVS research would develop proposals on the following:
• Strategies to increase forward value-addition of the four mineral groups selected, including the development of action plans for the value chains.
• Strategies to increase backward value-addition, or local content, in the supply of technologies and inputs used in the exploration, development and mining of domestic resources.
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