As the biggest mining gathering on the planet got underway the people representing Africa’s biggest mining nation painted a bleak picture of the future of the industry with talk of tens of thousands of jobs lost and companies losing money.
More than 6,000 delegates from 100 nations will be at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town as Africa struggles to win over foreign investors amid falling commodity prices and uncertainty on the ground.
Roger Baxter, the CEO at the Chamber of Mines, told journalists South African mining alone had lost 47,000 jobs between 2012 and 2015.
"Half of the coal mines and iron ore mines are losing money and so is 80 per cent of the platinum industry," says Baxter.
"It is not easy at the moment, commodity prices are down and companies are fighting for survival," says Mike Teke, the President of the Chamber of Mines, the body that represents most of South Africa's major mining companies.
"There was a survey out recently saying that South Africa was ranked number 11 in Africa as an attractive investment destination. We should be number one, but it is going to be very difficult for us to get back there," says Baxter.
The Chamber of Mines said that the main issue deterring foreign investors was uncertainty over a rewrite of mining legislation. Teke said the revised MPRDA was still on its way through Parliament and was expected to become law by the middle of the year.