The appointment of a service provider to design, implement and support a mineral rights system to address one of the major hurdles constraining exploration, mine development and growth of the local mining industry, has been welcomed by the Minerals Council South Africa.

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The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s (DMRE’s) announcement that it has finalised the appointment of a three-company consortium to install the system comes after several years of lobbying by the Minerals Council for the dysfunctional South African Mineral Resources Administration System (SAMRAD) system introduced in 2011, to be scrapped and replaced with an off-the-shelf, transparent and efficient system to revitalise South Africa’s exploration sector and the development of junior and emerging miners.

South Africa’s share of global exploration expenditure has been declining and has remained at less than 1% for the past three years, well below more than 5% twenty years ago. The mining industry needs a vibrant exploration sector to replace the ounces and tonnes of the nation’s minerals mined each year.

The Minerals Council looks forward to engaging the DMRE about the new cadastral system, how it will be implemented, the timeline needed to populate the new system using data from paper records and those still on the SAMRAD database to efficiently process mineral right applications.

“The new cadastre will expedite the processing of prospecting and mineral right applications, shortening the adjudication of applications. We can anticipate a near-term positive turnaround in the prospects of the industry through increased investment and future growth of mining and stimulus to the economy,” says Mzila Mthenjane, CEO of the Minerals Council.

“We need a globally competitive and world-class system to stimulate the mining sector, attract investment to grow the sector, attract new participants, create wealth for South Africa, and benefit society, especially at a time when there is a global conversation about critical minerals, which South Africa is endowed with,” he says.

The Minerals Council has estimated the backlog of more than 3 000 prospecting and mining rights to have a pent-up investment value of more than R30-billion, with thousands of jobs that could be created, particularly in rural areas where there is little economic activity.

South Africa has many of the minerals needed for the decarbonisation of economies and new technologies. To play its role in the global critical mineral economy, South Africa must urgently revitalise its exploration sector.

“This is an inflection point for South African mining sector and it will underscore why #MiningMatters for all stakeholders and the country,” Mr Mthenjane says.

Included in the PMG Consortium is Canada-based Pacific GeoTech Systems, which is a globally recognised and respected company that has provided digital land resource management and permitting systems for Canadian provincial governments for more than two decades.

Gemini GIS is a wholly women-owned South African empowerment geological services company, led by Andiswa Silinga as MD. Silinga worked for De Beers and Ivanhoe Nickel and Platinum before starting Gemini in 2008.

MITS Institute is a South African information and communication technology company.

Source: Supplied by the Minerals Council South Africa, edited by Sharyn Macnamara