CAPE TOWN (miningweekly.com) – Acceptance of tough current realities is a prerequisite for gold mining success in South Africa currently, DRDGold CEO Niël Pretorius said on Monday.
Speaking on day one of the Mining Indaba at a function to mark the 30th anniversary of the World Gold Council, Pretorius said that the simple reality of gold mining in South Africa currently was that it is far less attractive than it was 30 years ago.
First and foremost, gold mining companies wanting to make a success of gold mining in South Africa must want to be in South Africa and not somewhere else.
“Wishing to be somewhere else and that things were different is not going to get you anywhere, because there’s no real possibility of any significant change to these circumstances,” he said.
Gold mining companies needed to make peace with their reality and be serious about their asset.
“Not everybody can be a Mark Bristow with assets that he himself created. Many of us have an asset base with some stark realities that need to be addressed on an ongoing basis," he said.
Bristow is the CEO of Randgold Resources, who has successfully engaged in a strategy of discovery and development in gold mining in Africa in the last two decades.
Multinationals unhappy with their gold assets should not be holding on to those assets. Retaining them was being unfair to their shareholders, South Africa and the people of South Africa.
He urged those unhappy with their assets to rather dispose of those assets.
“Sell them to people who do have a plan for your assets," he urged.
Those intent on taking their South African gold assets forward in South Africa should be steadfast about adding to the capital that has been placed in their care.
“You have to be religiously committed to your plan and you must talk to other people who also want to be here and make sure that overlaps are used to best advantage,” Pretorius said at the Mining Indaba, which is being covered by Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online.
Two risks that had emerged in the near past were very different to those experienced in South Africa 30 years ago.
Those risks were community activism and nongovernmental organisation (NGO) activism.
Community activism had become one of the most significant risks of today’s mining industry and the only way mining companies could deal with it was by being dead serious about corporate social investment and corporate social responsibility.