'SA mining still a good investment'

South Africa's mining sector remains a favourable place for foreign investment despite the five-month strike in the platinum sector, Chamber of Mines chief executive Bheki Sibiya said on Friday.

Although the mining industry was "risky", it was still a valuable form of investment as the country was rich in mineral resources, he said.

"South Africa is a treasure trove, it has the largest quantity of treasure."

Sibiya was speaking at the Johannesburg Country Club in Auckland Park, ahead of the upcoming mining lekgotla next week.

The third annual lekgotla, set to take place on Wednesday and Thursday, will bring together the Chamber of Mines, the department of mineral resources, and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

President Jacob Zuma is expected to address the event at a gala dinner on Wednesday, as too will Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi.

Others speakers include Chamber of Mines president Mike Teke, and NUM general secretary Frans Baleni.

Sibiya said the lekgotla provided a platform where the chamber, together with government and unions, could find possible solutions to problems in the industry.

Participants would also discuss risks and setbacks imposed by the platinum strike, and find possible solutions.

"We want to take the industry forward with investor confidence and build the backbone of the economy," Sibiya said.

He conceded that the platinum strike -- the longest strike in the country's history -- had shaken investor confidence.

"The strike went on for longer than any of us expected," said Sibiya.

"It presented a form of erosion in the confidence in the mining industry."

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union members at Lonmin, Impala Platinum, and Anglo American Platinum went on strike on January 23, demanding a basic monthly salary of R12,500. They eventually agreed on a three-year wage deal on June 24.

In terms of the agreement, salaries of the lowest-paid workers would increase by R1000 in the first two years, and R950 in the third year.

 

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