Minister of Resources & Energy, Gwede Mantashe, in his opening address at the annual Investing in African Mining Indaba 2023, made no tangible pronouncements on what South Africa and the African continent can do to leverage the opportunities that the metals of the future afford the continent.
Andrew Lane, Energy, Mining & Industrials Lead at Deloitte Africa, comments on this saying that all critical minerals to drive energy transition and supply the world can be found in Africa. Moreover, it is at this juncture that it is critical for business and governments to think and act strategically as to not make mistakes of the past and miss the opportunity to generate economic benefit for the continent and its people.
Lane noted: “The challenge is to really ensure we draw benefit for our continent and drive socio-economic development, instead of it being a pit-to-port process.”
Focusing on South Africa, Minister Mantashe acknowledged the rail & port challenges as well as Eskom and alluded to his intentions to improve Eskom highlighting four immediate actions that government intends to take in the short term. He further drew attention to the fact that the Minerals Council is working with Transnet to address rail issues. Commenting on this Lane stated that “while the intentions are great, the industry needs to see the action. There is a growing frustration from the industry around corruption, logistics and energy that are not being addressed. Moreover, it was interesting to note that while Minister Mantashe has been quite vocal on the energy transition in the past, he did not say anything on the topic.”
Lane concludes to say that while executives in the industry say they are committed to the solution, it remains imperative that we leverage strategic partnerships with government to identify and leverage opportunities for the betterment of the country and the continent.