Brazil and South Africa to share ideas on improving the mining sector

March 1st, 2018
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South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources, Godfrey Oliphant, spoke at the Legal Framework of the Mining Sector in Brazil and in South Africa seminar.

By Kgomotso Ramotsho

The Embassy of Brazil in South Africa hosted a seminar on the legal framework of mining in Brazil and South Africa on 7 December 2017 in Johannesburg. Department of Mineral Resources Deputy Minister, Godfrey Oliphant, was the guest speaker. In his speech, Mr Oliphant said he welcomed the invitation to the seminar as South Africa (SA) continually seeks to clarify, promote and advance the country’s national interest, most notably through perusing SA’s economic priorities, namely, combating inequality, high poverty and unemployment.

Mr Oliphant added that it is in this regard SA works hard to pursue, greater trading and investment relations with other countries such as Brazil, as Brazil is a significant trading partner for SA. ‘We have noted with interest the decision by Brazil to abolish a vast national reserve to open the area for commercial exploration that will stimulate and grow the contribution of mining to the Brazilian economy,’ Mr Oliphant said. He noted that it will enable Brazilians to participate in the development and growth of the economy. ‘We in SA also strive to ensure that the full participation of our citizens in the economy is realised,’ he added.

Mr Oliphant said the South African government has taken the decision to radically transform the economy of the country so that black people, who are the majority, can meaningfully participate in the economy of the country. He pointed out that such issues of transformation will enable SA to achieve the goal it has set in the National Development Plan for 2030. He added that one of the goals the government wants to realise is to make the South African economy more inclusive, more dynamic and that the fruits of growth of the economy are shared.

Mr Oliphant pointed out that by 2030, the economy should be close to full employment, equipped with skilled people, ensure that ownership of production is more diverse and lastly to provide the resources to pay for investments. He said that the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002 (MPRDA), is the principle legislation governing the mining sector and that there has been an amendment Bill that was brought before parliament, which will be ready in 2018. He noted that there have been some challenges along the way because of the lack of consultation and some issues of a substantive nature. However, Mr Oliphant said the radical transformation remains at the centre of SA governments’ policy.

Mr Oliphant added that the economic transformation that is spoken about, is the change of the economy whereby SA cannot only rely on a system where one moves from point-to-point every time, but not creating any values in minerals. ‘We need to start creating jobs, increase and improve our skills base, but also adding value to our minerals,’ Mr Oliphant said.  He added that through SA’s government’s policy the MPRDA aims to ensure the meaningful participation of black people in the mining sector. He pointed out that the policy also intends to reverse the unjust exclusion of black people from the mining sector.

Brazilian Ambassador, Nedilson Jorge, said the Brazilian Congress approved the creation of the National Mining Agency, which will have the responsibility to regulate the mining sector, supervise mining activities and observe market competition. He pointed out that the mining sector has played a major role in history for both Brazil and SA. He added that it is natural and appropriate that Brazil and SA come together to discuss and exchange ideas on the improvement of mining. He said that the government of Brazil is committed to continuing to propose and encourage the growth of the mining industry and also intend to improve technical co-operation with other countries such as SA. He added that there is a lot of room for the private sectors to jointly make efforts and partnership to bilateral investments.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2018 (March) DR 13.

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