Mining Indaba participants are moving from inaction to action – by Helmo Preuss (The BRICS Post – February 11, 2019)

An example of this move from inaction to action is the decision by diamond mining giant De Beers to restart exploration after a two year hiatus, caused by the unilateral imposition by the South African government of the third iteration of the Mining Charter in 2017, which wiped out more than R50 billion off the market capitalisation of South African mining companies.

The new Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe, has by contrast consulted widely and promulgated the new Mining Charter in December 2018 and has promised an open door policy to addressing the challenges facing the mining industry.

“Most, probably, of our decisions to do something positive, the full consequences of which will be drawn out over many days to come, can only be taken as the result of animal spirits – a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as the outcome of a weighted average of quantitative benefits multiplied by quantitative probabilities,” the economist John Maynard Keynes wrote.

Mantashe told the 14th Annual Southern African Coal Conference that he aims to raise the contribution of mining to the South African economy to 10 per cent within five years from the current 7 per cent.

“For years people have been talking mining down, expecting something nice to replace mining. My view is however that we should talk mining up and my mission is to raise the share of mining to 10 per cent within five years from the current 7 per cent. If you are silent in the face of the negative narrative, then that narrative will predominate,” Mantashe said.

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