SPARE a thought for the junior mining companies. If it’s hard for large mining firms to attract investment and raise capital, then you can bet its doubly worse for the juniors, the intrepid entrepreneurs who are often the lifeblood of tomorrow’s minerals and metals supply.
In South Africa, it’s especially difficult for junior miners to gain traction. This is owing to the evaporation of confidence in the country’s regulatory framework, according to bankers, analysts and junior mining executives. A quick look at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) tells its own story.
There are hardly any exploration plays and very few small junior miners to shake a stick at: Bauba Platinum, Miranda Minerals, Tawana Minerals, Firestone, ZCI … But with all due respect, there’s nothing here to set the world alight; not yet anyway.
Speaking at the Junior Indaba, a conference held in Johannesburg earlier this month, Johan Dippenaar, CEO of Petra Diamonds, said that a lack of flexibility in application of regulations would make it impossible today to build a company in the same way he constructed his firm.
Petra’s rise to prominence from a diamond industry hopeful was based on buying the ageing diamond mines of De Beers, but it was a strategy that required the ability to behave entrepreneurially.
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