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Beneficiation of Mineral Resources Under the Spotlight

August 19, 2021

Department of Mineral Resources and Energy

The mineral resources and energy department’s priority is to ensure that South Africa’s mineral resources are increasingly beneficiated in the country.

The mineral resources and energy minister, Gwede Mantashe, emphasised this in an address at the Marikana Memorial.

The minister added that this will serve “to increase the value of our export earnings and internalise job opportunities in the downstream of our mineral value chain”.

The minister also pointed out that government will “continue improving the regulatory environment of the mining and energy sectors to enable more vibrant and cost-effective factors to doing business and attract investments”.

The minister also called for a new approach to Social and Labour Plans (SLPs).

According to the minister, SLPs should not replace municipal Integrated Development Programmes but compliment them.

“Furthermore, the introduction of the District Development Model (DDM) will enhance collaboration amongst the stakeholders and across sectors to effectively address the socio-economic challenges faced by communities”, he said.

The minister confirmed that the department will rigorously monitor the implementation of social justice orientated policies in the mining sector.

Meanwhile, the department recently issued a Request for Information (RFI) on developing the biofuels programme for blending into petrol and diesel.

The RFI seeks to gather information on the status of biofuels projects in South Africa; projected socio-economic benefits that can be derived from the projects and the policy, regulatory and/or financial support required to catalyse a biofuels industry in South Africa.

Responses are invited until 31 August 2021.

In parliament, the Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill, tabled in July 2021, has been classified by the Joint Tagging Mechanism as a section 76 bill and will be referred to the National House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders.

Some of the objectives of the proposed legislation include recognizing the right of the state to exercise sovereignty over all petroleum resources in South Africa, promoting equitable access to the country’s petroleum resources, facilitating participation by black South Africans in the upstream petroleum sector, providing for security of tenure in respect of exploration and production operations, ensuring that holders of production rights contribute to the socio-economic development of the areas in which they are operating and encouraging and promoting national development of petroleum resources by speeding up exploration and production.

The bill stipulates that the state has, via PetroSA, a right to a 20 percent carried interest in exploration and production rights.

It also declares that all applications for exploration and production rights must be accompanied by a shareholders’ agreement indicating the state carried interest.