Gwede Mantashe backs the introduction of a Mandela platinum coin

Gwede Mantashe, mines and energy minister, South Africa

The platinum producers finally appear to be making headway with the SA government on the introduction of a platinum coin judging from recent comments made by Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe

Mantashe is currently in Perth, Western Australia where he addressed the Africa Down Under conference on August 29.

According to a post on the “News Room” section of the Department of Mineral Resources website headlined –   “Minister Mantashe’s notes for Africa Down Under  2018”  –  Mantashe  indicated progress was being made on plans to introduce a platinum coin.

The major platinum miners have been pushing for the development of such a coin – in effect the platinum version of the gold Krugerrand – since the 1980’s but have gotten nowhere until, it seems, now.

The SA government has turned down previous proposals for the coin apparently because it was not prepared to “monetise” platinum by turning it into a central bank reserve asset through minting such a coin as legal tender.

But Mantashe told delegates at Africa Down Under that, “we will, together with the industry, work on triggering the demand for PGMs (platinum group metals) thus converting our comparative advantage into competitive advantage.

“One of the key projects under consideration for this is the introduction of the Mandela Platinum Coin which will be sold as a reserve asset.”

In his speech Mantashe addressed  the “trust deficit” among stakeholders – labour, government and business – that had developed over the past five years resulting from the breakdown in relations between these tripartite partners.

He commented, “ this relationship has been restored to a level where we, as stakeholders, have had an open engagement on several matters affecting the sustainability and competitiveness of the sector.

“ These engagements have culminated into a robust process aimed at resolving the impasse on the Mining Charter 2017 to produce a Charter which is supported by all stakeholders.

“It is envisaged the final Mining Charter will be published for implementation by November 2018.  To provide the so-much needed regulatory certainty the MPRDA Bill has been withdrawn from Parliament and the MPRDA will be applicable in its current form.

“We have since engaged the gas and petroleum sector and initiated a process for the development of a separate legal framework specifically for this sector.”

Also at the Africa Down Under conference is Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter who told delegates in his speech that, “while some issues remain in respect of the new Mining Charter, we are hopeful of an outcome that promotes both transformation and investor confidence which will ultimately ensure the growth and viability of our sector.

“However, there is still much more work to be done in finalising a workable charter, in developing a competitiveness and growth strategy for the mining sector to assist some commodities through the specific economic challenges they face and in building the sector for the future. “

Baxter highlighted a number of “green shoots” in the SA mining sector including; the withdrawal of the MPRDA Amendment Bill by Minister Mantashe and the fact that his department is tackling licence backlogs; investigating corruption and improving its systems.

“What is important is that stakeholders are working together and the processes are certainly pointing in the right direction,” Baxter said.