There is need to interlink and integrate the development of mining in Africa with the available infrastructure for the continental to develop as espoused by the African Union, South Africa’s Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu has noted.
Speaking at the opening of the 20th Mining Indaba in Cape Town South Africa Tuesday, Shabangu stressed that the development of mining on the continent be integrated and interlinked with the existing infrastructural development programmes like the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa, that has been embraced and adopted by the African Union.
For African mining to develop, Shabangu noted, concerted efforts need to be undertaken spurred by a shift and transformation process from the traditional practices currently underway.
The shift should mean avoiding the exporting of chiefly raw materials from the continent and allow the minerals to serve as a driver for accelerated industrialization spurred by adding value to the minerals mined on the continent, noting that the grounds for investing in mineral development in Africa and globally were suitable to accelerate development.
The great impact of the increase on the earth’s shrinking resource-base largely driven by unprecedented population explosion in recent years, will accelerate Africa’s mineral development, she added.
Shabangu noted however, that while every effort is being made to tap into the untapped metals and minerals on the continent, there is need for partnership with investors to drive resources into maximizing on the available resources that are abundant in Africa.
There is need for increased investment in exploration by both local and international investors at various levels stressing that Africa remains largely under-exploited despite its vast mineral resources.
She noted that the exploration expenditure per square metre was on average US65 dollars in among other countries, Canada, Australia and Latin America while Africa’s share remains was lower than US5 per square kilometer of similar space available.
“This requires both local and international partners and investment to unearth the potential, Shabangu told more than 1,800 delegates converging in Cape Town for the annual mining conference, which has over the years become synonymous with Africa’s growth.
Shabangu said tapping into this needed “responsible” investment, not investment based on exploitative principles centred solely on expectations for unrealistic rates of returns, disguised by the principle of high-risk, high-return.
Mining is a long term investment but does not provide for quick wins hence the need for patience coupled with unwavering investment by would be developers of projects. “As you know, mining is a long-term investment, and not about quick wins. Those who balance Africa’s mineral development with growth will ultimately receive the greatest reward in the long-term.”
Shabangu stressed that such developments will not be feasible without the participation of communities that need to benefit. The co-existence between interest groups should culminate, ultimately into human capacity growth and development as well as institutional collaboration on joint technology development and deployment.
The mining conference is being held on the theme: Investing in African Mining. It runs from February 3-6 at which various interest groups from a wide range of fields including Governments endowed with minerals are participating to form synergies for the development of the continent.//