S.African mining executives lament industry's poor perfomance

by Trust Matsilele 0

South Africa contributes less than five per cent of global mining, a lesser contribution than before, Jim Rutherford of Anglo American said.

Rutherford decried the state of performance in the sector saying that mining within the country had massively underperformed.

“South Africa has experienced minim volume growth over the past few years,” he said.

Rutherford, appointed recently by the board at [DATA AMS:Anglo American Plc] added that the industry needed to modernise rapidly though this might have implications on unemployment in the country.

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“South Africa is engaged in a competitive battle for capital and the country is losing that battle. South Africa is capturing the diminishing returns of the global project mining pipeline.”

Rutherford also urged the industry to move towards transformation as it was vital for sustainability in the long term.

Gerard Kemp, chief executive Kaouat Iron Ore in support of Rutherford said to navigate the challenges in the sector and country, effective leadership was required.

“We lack the leader not only at the presidential level but in the union and mining sector. There is also need for mutual beneficial relationship between industry, government and our unions,” said Kemp.

Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana, Africa Analyst at [DATA RMB:RMB Holdings Limited]’s Global Markets Research said South Africa and the continent needed to industrialise faster and address the infrastructure deficit.

“South Africa is still facing low industrialisation compared to other emerging markets,” said Ramkhelawan-Bhana.

Ramkhelawan-Bhana also warned African economies especially those high dependent on mineral resources.

“Countries’ high dependence on mineral resources have increased volatility,” added Ramkhelawan-Bhana.

She said the challenges in the sector were also been worsened by industrial action which was being highly publicised.

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Sholto Dolamo of the Public Investment Corporation urged investors to factor long term gains when making investments.

“Part of the problem we have had in the sector is its cyclical nature where companies spend revenues without factoring the next possible window of opportunity,” said Dolamo.

“We need to capture the next cycle properly as the last boom caught most by surprise,” he added.

Dolamo said there was need to deploy capital that will general high returns.

Experts said South Africa, despite present challenges, presented opportunities for investors due to its demographic advantages.

“Employment demographics still favour South Africa due to its huge unemployed youth eager to enter the work market.”