South Africa has renewed its frontier status as an exploration destination, Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy said on Monday. Speaking in Cape Town, he detailed the country’s plan to expand the mining sector, as the government hopes to use the industry as a driving force for long-term economic growth and resilience.
Mantashe highlighted that South Africa’s exploration landscape is increasingly becoming more attractive with mineral deposits including lithium, rare earth minerals, copper and nickel.
He noted that these minerals provide a solid base for industries of the future as well as the balanced energy security sought by the country, the region, and the world.
“This is a direct result of our deliberate investments in geo-mapping through the Council for Geoscience (CGS), whose coverage of the onshore mapping has systematically expanded to 11.4% from below 5% when the program started a handful of years ago,” he said.
Mantashe pointed out that it is impossible to overestimate the importance of geoscience as a compass for exploration and development in general, adding that, “I beg the investment community to support projects run by the CGS and the OAGS in order to fund development efforts that will also guarantee their long-term returns.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has launched an Exploration Fund, as the country’s “exploration landscape becomes increasingly more fertile for the discovery of world class deposits of minerals of the future such as lithium, Rare Earth Minerals, copper, nickels as well as the expansion of mineral systems of the manganese fields of high-grade quality,” stated Mantashe.
“In our pursuit to unleash junior mining and the emergence of new mines in South Africa, we have partnered with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to create a R500 million exploration fund,” Minister Mantashe shared. “The fund will be supported with geological information to de-risk the exploration activities and increase the chances of success. The initial phase of the implementation of this fund is deliberately kept small to prove the value of geological information to accelerate advancement along the exploration value chain trajectory to pre-feasibility stage.”