Every Friday, SAfm’s radio anchor Sakina Kamwendo speaks to Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly. Reported here is this Friday’s At the Coalface transcript:
Kamwendo: Minerals Minister Gwede Mantashe this week made a strong call for price-hit platinum to be vigorously marketed.
Creamer: It was fantastic. At the Joburg Indaba he drew huge applause when he said we have got to have a Mandela coin in platinum. He said, we also in rural areas that haven’t got electricity, we have got to have fuel cells that are platinum catalysed.
He is saying that we should be symbolically pushing the marketing of this very important metal, which is suffering a very low price of $824 an ounce. It used to be nearly three times that. He is saying that this will be a commitment that South Africa shows that we are behind this metal.
He urged every single person in mining to make sure that when this Mandela coin is there that they purchase one, because the South African Reserve Bank needs to have a guaranteed offtake. The conviction is there that tourism will be able to use this as a mechanism to sell platinum. So will we go into the world with this great symbolic attraction of Nelson Mandela.
Kamwendo: Desperately needed mineral exploration has received a major boost by being freed from regulatory red tape.
Creamer: This is great insight by Gwede Mantashe. He realises now that we just don't have exploration and if you don’t have exploration you won’t have mines at a certain time.
What he has done, is he has taken away all the regulatory red tape from mineral exploration and money has been put aside and try and incentivise it, because this is what is happening in other mining jurisdictions. They are realising that this is a high risk venture when you start drilling into the ground and you don't really know what is there and you have to be incentivised at an early stage until it becomes commercial.
Kamwendo: China is so impressed with South Africa’s mining investment codes that it is sending a delegation to South Africa on Monday, October 15, to study them first-hand.
Creamer: Just think of that. The Chinese have recognised the great integrity and transparency of the way that we measure the metals and minerals in the ground. When we go to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, those metals and minerals in the ground, you need to have a very accurate assessment of that, because you are asking people for their money.
The Chinese are now coming to South Africa on Monday week and they will be here till November 3, with 19 people checking on exactly how we go about assuring investors that what is in the ground is genuinely in the ground. The standards that we adopt, because they are also going to join the world body Crirsco, which has 13 countries as members at the moment.
The template for this was largely developed by South Africans, so in order to become the 14th country to be part of Crirsco, the Chinese delegation is going to spend two weeks in South Africa studying up the way we do it. They are so impressed at our meticulous way of doing things.
Kamwendo: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly.