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Ramaphosa promises to address policy uncertainty

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President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday told mining industry investors, executives and experts that government was committed to addressing policy uncertainty in an effort to meet South Africa’s developmental agenda.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday told mining industry investors, executives and experts that government was committed to addressing policy uncertainty in an effort to meet South Africa’s developmental agenda. Photographer: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG – PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday told mining industry investors, executives and experts that government was committed to addressing policy uncertainty in an effort to meet South Africa’s developmental agenda.

Addressing 6000 delegates during the 27th Investing in Mining Indaba, held virtually, Ramaphosa said South Africa should adapt to the realities of the Covid-19 era, provide greater policy certainty, attract higher levels of investment and protect livelihoods at the same time.

Ramphosa emphasised that a sustainable mining industry was key to accelerated industrialisation, innovation, competition and creating employment.

“To ensure we increase the contribution of both mining and energy to meeting our developmental aspirations, we have taken significant steps to resolve policy and regulatory issues that investors have identified previously and raised with us as constraints to greater investment,” Ramaphosa said.

The mining industry accounts for about 8.1 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employs around 451 000 people.

Ramaphosa urged the industry to strive for greater sustainability, competitiveness and transformation.

“Mining companies should foster an inclusive approach to all aspects of mining, from ownership to participation in management and also to procurement. There should be greater inclusion of women and women-owned businesses in all these areas,” said Ramaphosa.

He also said mining companies should strive to incorporate and actively implement environmental, social and governance standards into all aspects of their business decisions and operations.

According to Minerals Council South Africa, the mining industry’s direct contribution to GDP in 2020 was R361 billion, and mining companies paid R11.8bn in royalties in 2020.

Ramaphosa said the government was working towards allowing the mining companies to generate their own electricity as Eskom’s load shedding and increasing power costs threaten to bring the economy to its knees.

He acknowledged a reliable and affordable energy supply was the lifeblood of mining and a catalyst to economic growth and development.

“We have witnessed the adverse impact of high costs and unreliable energy supply on the mining sector in South Africa. That is why we are intensely engaged in the implementation of our Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). Through this plan, we are working to broaden our energy mix, enable energy generation for own use, and reform and strengthen the capacity of the state power utility, Eskom,” said Ramaphosa.

In October 2019, the government gazetted the IRP – SA’s blueprint for long-term electricity generation options, which provides for a diversified energy mix. The IRP also makes it possible for mining companies to generate power from 1 megawatt plants and above for their own use.

In March last year, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe, gazetted Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act which will enable self-generation.

“We call on stakeholders, in both government and in the private sector, to work with us in providing energy that increases production in all sectors of the economy, all the while promoting job creation, growth and opportunities,” said Ramaphosa.

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