Welcome Remarks by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Dr Zamani Saul, at the Provincial Mining and Minerals Investment Conference Mieta Seperepere Convention Centre, Kimberley 10 March 2022 Programme Director Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Ener

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Programme Director
Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Dr Nobuhle Nkabane
Members of the Executive Council
Ambassador of Kazakhstan, His Excellency Kanat Tumysh
Mayors and Councillors
Senior Government Officials
Captains of Industry
Distinguished Guests
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen

On behalf of the people of the Northern Cape it gives me great pleasure to express a warm welcome to you all and to those people that are joining us virtually as well.

We are greatly pleased to have all the distinguished guests in our beautiful province. We welcome you to a Province of contrasts; being the biggest in landmass area, covering almost a third of South Africa, meanwhile having the smallest population in the country.

Programme Director, the Coronavirus, Covid-19 Pandemic, has necessitated that we look at innovative ways to rebuild and strengthen our economy. We are of the firm view that through initiatives that bring together Government, private sector and labour, we will be in a position to grow our economy despite all the challenges.

Honourable Deputy Minister, ladies and gentlemen, as the Northern Cape, our vision is to modernise the province, grow its economy and make it successful. To realise this vision, we must enhance our resource profile for maximum benefit to our people, ensure down streaming, value addition before and local supply of consumption.

The Northern Cape and its extensive mineral endowment accentuate the critical position that the province plays to transition the National mining ambition and the new mining frontier!

Programme Director, the Northern Cape reported a GDP of R 101 billion in 2020 (up from R 60.1 billion in 2010). This represents a contribution of 2.03% to the South Africa GDP of R 4.97 trillion. The mining sector in the Northern Cape is the second largest contributor to the GDP of the Northern Cape economy with an average contribution of 22.9 percent to the GDP, the mining sector employs approximately 15 000 people and is the largest in foreign exchange earnings.

According to the Mineral Council Fast Facts, the Northern Cape mining operations focus primarily on manganese, iron ore, diamonds and recently the mining of zinc and copper. The Northern Cape hosts more than 75% of the world’s manganese deposits.

A snapshot of Mining and Mineral Beneficiation in the Northern Cape indicates that the mining sector is an important pillar of economic growth for more than a century. Mining assets in the Northern Cape include the following:

  • Produces more than 84% of South Africa’s mining output, produced 95% of South Africa’s diamond output,
  • 97.6% of alluvial diamond mining is in the Northern Cape, responsible for 13.4% of world lead exports,
  • 80% of the world’s manganese resource is situated in the Northern Cape,
  • 25% of the manganese used in the world originate from the Northern Cape,
  • 100% of South Africa’s tiger’s eye is situated in the Northern Cape, the largest national producer of sugalite (a semi-precious stone).

It is important that during the prime extraction phase and peak days of mining the mine’s social license to operate, be used to develop local businesses and to diversify the economy to sustain the community beyond the life of a mine.

In South Africa, the social license to operate is well regulated via the Mining Petroleum Resource Development Act, Mining Charter and the Social and Labour Plan. These require the mines to address housing for employees, develop portable skills, develop local enterprises and help in diversifying local economies.

A concern in the Northern Cape, specifically the Gamagara Mining Corridor, is that the mining houses are not properly consolidating their efforts, having completely separate and unrelated individual Social Labour Plan (SLP) efforts, which are neither scalable nor sustainable.

In addition is the size of volume of procurement which in many instances makes it difficult for local enterprises to partake and compete against multi-nationals. Multi-national suppliers are having mobile service units and they do not develop local manufacturing and retail/service outlets.

Furthermore, is the fact that many of these mines are reluctant, even none compliant to contribute to housing and bulk service infrastructure. Most of our municipalities hosting these mining investments do not have the capacity to keep service infrastructure development at the level of the increase in the local population.

Programme Director; allow me to highlight some challenges faced by the mining sector in the province:

  • Small scale miners’ access to rail and export harbour,
  • Access to finance and funding for emerging miners,
  • Access to capital for small scale miners,
  • Access to mineral rights,
  • Access to markets,
  • Inadequate skills and knowledge in the mining sector,
  • Access to appropriate technology,
  • Lack of institutional support and
  • Clarity on small-scale mining policy that promotes small scale mining and the central access point for mining services for small scale miners.

However, infrastructure development remains a vital for mineral development and beneficiation in the province, especially rail capacity for bulk and beneficiated minerals. The Province plans to build on the existing infrastructure that lies on the east-west axis, the NC industrial corridor, roughly aligned with the existing N14 national highway and the Sishen-Saldanha railway freight line.

Based on the challenges faced by mining sector, we intend to have a proactive approach in addressing the mining curse. We took the global and industrialisation realities to heart as the Northern Cape. The province ventured into an aggressive planning and implementation process of identifying clusters of consumption and resources with nodes within which industrial centres or clusters can be created to supply consumption and to add value to locally produced resources. This includes nodes such as the Kathu Industrial Park, the Upington Industrial Park, the Namakwa Special Economic Zone and the Boegoebaai Port and proposed satellite Special Economic Zone.

The projects related to the mining sector include projects such as the:

Namakwa SEZ – The Namakwa Special Economic Zone is an industrial cluster for mineral beneficiation and manufacturing hosting Vedanta Zinc International which will be commissioning a zinc smelter that will produce 450 000 tons per annum of sulphuric acid as a by-product for the production of fertilisers.

Kathu Industrial Park - The Kathu Industrial Park is a key priority for the province and was recently presented at the Sustainable Development: Infrastructure Development Symposium hosted by the President and coordinated by Infrastructure South Africa. By unlocking the bulk infrastructure for this development, we will mobilize approximately R 580 million in private sector investment and create 450 permanent job opportunities.

In addition to the Northern Cape industrial corridor three other initiatives have been identified and initiated which include:

  1. Industrialisation by using SLP’s, mine consumption, procurement and value addition to prepare for beyond life of mine.
  2. Preferential Mining Procurement: The Department of Economic Development has established a website and support structure to prepare potential mining service providers.
  3. Coordination of enterprise development via the Shared Value support programme.

In realising the Northern Cape vision of being a modern, growing and successful province with sustainable development, the province requires a firm balance of three critical enablers - social, economic and environmental factors. To enable this vision and to achieve a sustainable development the Northern Cape has identified economic development and growth to be the first pillar of our vision 2040.

Honourable Deputy Minister, noting the structural capacity of our economy, our resource base and consumption trends we need to industrialise to ensure that we have a growing economy. This industrialisation process, on the other hand, must be actively led through the supply of local demand and through adding value whilst capturing maximum value chain at source- right here in the Northern Cape.

Once again ladies and gentlemen, feel welcome in the company of the people of the Northern Cape. I want to wish you well on your deliberations during this conference and we look forward to the resolutions of this Conference, which we trust will lead to the growth of our province and improving the lives of our people.

Thank you

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