Pretoria - Limpopo is among the top three mining capitals in South Africa, along with North West and the Northern Cape, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, has said.
He was delivering the keynote address at the two-day Limpopo Mining Investment Conference in Polokwane last week. The conference was meant to enhance mining in the country.
Mantashe said: “Limpopo can be developed to be among the top three mining headquarters in the mining sector in South Africa.
“Here in South Africa we believe that three provinces can develop into massive mining headquarters in the country –Limpopo, North West and Northern Cape.
“We must be able to have headquarters of mining companies and processing plants in these provinces; not operate Limpopo from Gauteng. Limpopo must take its role in mining seriously,” said Mantashe.
He added that small-scale mining should be given space to grow.
“The problem that we have in many mining provinces is that instead of developing small-scale mining in an orderly fashion, we want to
organise a group of people to disrupt mining.
“When we do that we are not going to grow mining, but we are destroying it.
“Let us get small-scale mining organised and supported, then will discuss with the Small Business Ministry to say they have a role to play in small scale mining so that people establish themselves and build wealth.”
Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha echoed Mantashe’s sentiments, saying Limpopo was one of the provinces with rich and limitless mineral deposits.
Opening the conference, Mathabatha said: “Mining is the mainstay of the Limpopo economy and has on average contributed 25% to our economy in the last 15 years.
“In the last five years, mining has contributed 90 000 direct jobs to Limpopo and a total of 1.2 million employed workforce.
“If one considers both the direct and indirect impact of the mining sector, then its employment contribution has in the period increased from 8% to about 15%.
“This conference will offer us an opportunity to interact directly and interface with the challenges in the mining sector.
“It will allow us to respond swiftly and in a more tailored fashion to challenges that may emerge from time to time. Most importantly, this conference will help to highlight the many investment opportunities that are available in the mining sector.
“I speak with authority when I say investment opportunities in our mining sector in this province are limitless. It is a known fact that Limpopo is rich in mineral deposits such as platinum, chrome, coal and diamonds,” said Mathabatha.
The conference ended with a number of presentations on the outlook of mining in Limpopo, the investment drive and strategy to grow Limpopo, mineral rights and investment opportunities that exist in the province.
It investigated the importance of how new role players would make it to the mining industry, government and private sector collaboration to unlock mining potential in the province as well as the finance, logistics, market development and access to increase mining investment in the province.
The MEC for Economic Development in the province, Thabo Mokone,
told the conference the provincial government was going ahead with the development of the multi-billion rand Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone in the Vhembe district, despite rumours that the Chinese government was considering abandoning funding the project.