Editor's Note

More questions than answers

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Welcome to another edition of South Africa’s favourite mining bi-monthly. Signs of economic recovery are evident, while the mining sector in particular shows some positive resolve, albeit under a cloud of the looming Mining Charter 3.

The new charter still poses more questions than answers for many observers, as it is still unclear exactly what the charter will change, and how black ownership in the mining industry will be boosted in a better manner than BEE, which produced a few wealthy bosses and did little for the rank and file.

Our new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has been a standout during his first 100 days in official office and has certainly been a breath of fresh air after the years of below-par leadership under Jacob Zuma.

But sadly Ramaphosa has inherited a system that is top heavy and bloated, and it will take many years to reverse the damage done to our coffers and reputation in the international community as a safe place to do business.

There is clearly a trust deficit between business and government that needs to be bridged. Trust is not something that you can buy or manufacturer and comes with respect and doing right by not only your shareholders, but the community.

With youth unemployment figures over 50% it is vital that we create a vibrant economy and increase the level of local beneficiation. Take platinum; we have some of the largest deposits in the world according to reports. The cell phone in your pocket requires platinum. Now, if we could do more than just take it out of the ground, we’d have a far greater employment footprint and revenue stream.

Many of our raw materials are exported to Asia, to be refined and made into a variety of products. In the past, South Africa had strict trade laws to protect local manufacturing from overseas products. The textile industry is a prime example, it fell flat on its face once Chinese products were made freely available at discounted prices.

This goes hand in hand with the whole ethos of a free market system and capitalism, but if you want to increase local beneficiation, you need to make tough decisions. We have the technical ability and know-how in this country to make a cell phone, for example, from start to finish. Now is the time to unlock our full potential, and expand on the notion that local is lekker.

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