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.