[miningmx.com] — The funding model for the State Diamond Trader (SDT) is not working as the Department of Mineral Resources expected.
A new business model has therefore been developed, the chief director for mineral promotion, Mosa Mabuza, said yesterday.
The SDT was created in 2007 with with the assistance of De Beers and the Industrial Development Corporation, with the aim of promoting the adding of value to the local diamond industry and giving black business people greater access to it.
Mabuza told the parliamentary portfolio committee on mining that the SDT could not alone satisfy the need for intervention in the diamond industry in terms of security of supply and value-addition.
Committee chairperson Fred Gona pointed out to the departmental officials that various small and large diamond companies had complained to the committee about their frustrations with the SDT. According to Gona, SDT’s management had been asked to appear before the committee on May 5.
For the current financial year the department had budgeted R52m for the rehabilitation of abandoned mines. Gona pointed out that the department had previously said that R30bn was needed to rehabilitate all South Africa’s neglected mines.
On the department’s current budget it would take 50 years to rehabilitate all the mines.
According to Mabuza, priority is being given to focusing on the worst cases, where health and the environment are under threat.
There are some 6 000 such mines in South Africa, he said.
Some of the mines were evacuated 80 years ago, but with new technology they could be commercially exploited and the new owners would then be responsible for rehabilitation, thus lightening the burden on the state.
An amount of R35.6m had been budgeted this year to support small emerging mining companies in pumping water out of mines.
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