Zwane takes thick-skinned approach to mining indaba

Mosebenzi Zwane, Minister of Minerals and Energy Resources.
Mosebenzi Zwane, Minister of Minerals and Energy Resources.
Image: Freddy Mavunda/Business Day

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane on Monday spoke of good relations and positive meetings with global mining firms operating in South Africa‚ even as some delegates attending the 2018 Mining Indaba signalled they want him removed from the post.

"Through our open-door policy‚ we continue to prioritise the promotion of good working relations with right-holders‚ and we engage on a continuous basis on issues which will advance the growth and development of the sector‚" the minister said in a prepared speech for delivery at the opening of the indaba.

"Since our arrival in Cape Town a few days ago we have met with some of the global mining firms operating in our country‚ including Rio Tinto - on the company’s plans to expand its operations and extend its life of mine‚ with a potential investment to the tune of $450 million US dollars.

"The company has also demonstrated its willingness to align with government policies‚ by exceeding the targets we have set for empowerment and transformation. We also received an update on the Venetia Underground Project from De Beers‚ an investment estimated at $2 billion US dollars‚ which is extending the life of mine to beyond 2040.

"As the week progresses we will continue engaging with the investment community and hold bilateral discussions with visiting Ministers‚ to see what progresses we together have made in this industry."

Business Day reported however that delegates were concerned Zwane's presence at the showcase of African mining‚ attended by investors from around the world‚ would send the wrong message.

Zwane is under investigation for his role in alleged corruption and questionable behaviour while in provincial and national government positions. He has repeatedly protested his innocence.

The industry has also appealed to government to reassure investors that it is dealing with the issues that soured perceptions of SA as an investor-friendly mining destination‚ and that it is prepared to renegotiate the third version of the Mining Charter‚ which is now the subject of a court battle‚ Business Day reports.