Shabangu woos China

[] — MINERAL Resources Minister Susan Shabangu has assured potential Chinese investors that South Africa offers a competitive mining sector.

“… my government is committed to creating a favourable and globally competitive mining sector in South Africa,” she told the 2011 Mining Ministers Forum in Tianjin, China, on Monday.

“Domestic and global investments into our economy are very much part of the equation,” she said in a speech prepared for delivery to an audience including ministers from China, Australia, Angola, Canada and Nigeria.

“… the Chinese mining investors in particular have an important role in this phase of South Africa’s mining and industrial expansion,” she said.

South Africa’s mineral exports to China for the past four years had shown a compounded annual growth rate of over 50%, she said.

This was “projected to grow even more as this growth is very much linked to the galloping growth of the Chinese economy”.

Shabangu said South Africa’s beneficiation strategy was developed to help deal with the “evil triplets” of unemployment, inequality and poverty. As part of this strategy, five value chains had been made a priority.

These were iron and steel, energy commodities, auto catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters where platinum group metals would be beneficiated, pigment and titanium metal production, and jewellery manufacturing.

“The development of globally competitive sectors from these value chains will be derived from dedicated research and development programmes,” Shabangu said.

“And it is in this area, that partnerships with Chinese firms/companies will be most valued.”

The minister said her department was working to fix problems in granting mining licences.

“As a country, we are serious in quest to create a single window for processing mineral rights as well as associated environmental authorisation and water licences,” she said.

“This will go a long way to easing the administrative processes both within government as well as for the mining companies.”

She sought to assure the audience that South Africa was dealing with infrastructure problems.

“We are mindful that over the past three years our mining industry has suffered from the lack of adequate infrastructure, be it electricity, roads, or export logistics at the ports,” she said.

“We have therefore invested a great deal of political and financial capital in ensuring that our requisite infrastructure is adequate.”