Accept it’s hard to mine here, or move on – DRDGold’s Pretorius

Niel Pretorius, CEO, DRDGold

DRDGOLD CEO, Niël Pretorius, has urged South African mining companies to either accept the unique challenges of operating in South Africa, or sell up their assets and move on.

He also appealed to gold miners not to sit on assets they are unwilling or unable to develop, saying this is a dereliction of their responsibility to the industry and the country.

“If you’re not happy with your assets, you shouldn’t be holding on to them – it’s unfair to yourself and the country. Rather sell them to people who can take advantage of the assets.

“Talk to other people who also want to be here and see what sort of overlap you can use to your advantage,” he told the World Gold Council’s reception at the Mining Indaba.

He argued that the legislative, labour, and infrastructure-related challenges of the domestic mining environment were unlikely to improve anytime soon, so miners should either accept this reality or move to fairer mining shores.

It was also a far more difficult environment in which to operate. Some 35 years ago, labour was cheap and abundant, electricity was reliable, and the regulator was focused on enabling miners rather than driving transformation.

“The simple reality of mining gold [in South Africa] today is that it is far less attractive and harder than it was 35 years ago. Wishing you were somewhere else won’t get you anywhere, so don’t think these circumstances will change. To make a success, you need to want to be here and not somewhere else, and you need to believe in your asset,” he said.


  1. Niels Pretorius has undoubted foresight and I wish some of the other mining captains would take a leaf out of his book!! Drd you are in it for the long term and as long as you have Pretorius at the helm and a good support team I wish you every success in the future.

  2. I wish South African Mining Industry had few leaders like Niels Pretorius, who understand the reality of the environment his company is operating in and responding accordingly. I wish today’s investors can also one thing or two from him, and understand that mining is a long term, capital intensive business that needs patience.

  3. Yes. Neil is right, whatever his reasons are. If you are a mining investor or mining executive and still wishing for apartheid era cheap labour, continuation of apartheid style exclusion, stalling of transformation, bemoaning public sector corruption while corruption is just as rampant in the private sector and in your own company, then you are in the wrong place. Dont complain, pack your stuff and get out, leave the orebody to the people that are willing to be here to be part of the reconstruction of this country, of which the mining industry is just a part.

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