South African Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) minister, Susan Shabangu pained a positive picture for the mining sector at this year’s African Mining Indaba, despite the challenges experienced over recent months.

Without hesitation, Shabangu took to reiterating the DMR’s stance on nationalisation, ensuring the industry that it is not and never will be an option for the country.

“Do not come to me and ask about nationalisation, it is not a policy of this government and I dont want to repeat this message any further. Minerals development cannot happen without capital investment from the private sector,” the minister reaffirmed.

Considered the most positive message delivered from Shabangu was her announcement of the current review of the mining legislation framework. We are reviewing the MPRDA and will make amendments in necessary areas. “Our focus is to remove ambiguities and ensure the Act remains current and relevant. We also want to promote beneficiation and improve timeframes for applications and licences.”

“We want to achieve significant improvement in service delivery and will further amend health and safety procedures,” she continued. She further noted the necessity for infrastructure – another critical component for future mining development, adding that it is high on the governments national infrastructure programme.

“We also acknowledge the effect of rising energy costs and we want to ensure we will do what is essential to avoid further negative impact on economic growth.”

Shabangu reinforced the necessity for mining stakeholders to be flexible and adaptable to the changing needs of the minerals sector and insisted on an environment of trust.

The minister did not shy away from the difficulties and challenges experienced in the sector, particularly for PGMs, but stated that collaborative efforts will deliver desired outcomes, regardless of the situation. The DMR established a platinum task team in 2012 which is dedicated to assisting the PGM sector.

“We are working with Anglo American Platinum and engaging constructively with them to find a lasting solution.”

In a touching conclusion, Minister Shabangu paid special tribute to Cynthia Carroll, who will soon step down from her position as Anglo American CEO.

“Thank you Cynthia for being a lighting torch for women around the globe. You have set a precedent and taught us that nothing is impossible to achieve as women. You will remain a source of inspiration broadly to all women. Thank you for setting the stage for all women in the world. We will miss you.”