Govt to develop rescue plan for platinum, gold sectors

Pretoria: Minister of Mineral Resources, Susan Shabangu, says she has instructed officials in her department to develop a rescue plan for the platinum and gold sectors to ensure long-term sustainability.

Presenting the department’s Budget Vote in the National Assembly on Tuesday, the minister said these sectors had been negatively affected by the persistent global economic market environment, which had an adverse bearing on their long-term viability.

“I have directed my officials to urgently explore all available avenues and develop a rescue plan, which will enable us to find appropriate government-wide measures for appropriate sector-wide responses, with particular focus on both supply and demand side interventions in order to position them along a recovery path and a trajectory of long-term sustainability through the well-established tripartite structure of Mining Growth, Development, and Employment Task Team (MIGDETT),”said Shabangu.

She said the platinum and gold sectors were amongst the largest sectors of South Africa’s mining industry in terms of employment, investment and revenue generation.

A bilateral cooperation agreement with Russia would contribute significantly to the creation of a suite of interventions necessary to stabilise the platinum industry.

Russia and South Africa signed an agreement during the BRICS Summit in Durban in March on cooperation in the development of Platinum Group Metals (PGM).

The agreement is premised on an understanding that parties will make every effort to achieve, among others, sustainable expansion of the PGM market, create value-adding enterprises closer to production and work towards realising the potential for developing other sectors of the economy.

“I invite PGM companies to work with my department to leverage relations we have established with the Russian Republic,” she said.

Business unusual

In January this year, Anglo American Platinum announced its intention to restructure its business. President Jacob Zuma and the chairman of Anglo American plc, John Parker, met in Pretoria and agreed to find sustainable interventions that will enable business continuity and sustainability, whilst preserving employment where possible.

Shabangu said she believed that by working together, a sustainable, discerning solution had been found – one she hoped the labour movement would consider favourably.

“This demonstrates and emphasises the importance of taking different stakeholders into confidence and opening to them a long-term window, which enables them to appreciate the dynamics of inherently cyclical nature of the mining industry.”