The Chamber of Mines of South Africa has welcomed government’s plans to revitalise distressed mining towns in the country, as announced by President Jacob Zuma during his State of the Nation Address.
“We believe that the industry can better assist government when infrastructure and basic services planning is a shared responsibility so that we begin to see the critical mass change in so far as addressing human settlement and other community needs,” said Vice President of the chamber, Khanyisile Kweyama.
On Thursday night, President Zuma announced that government had ring-fenced a total of R2.1 billion to revitalise distressed mining towns with R290 million having being approved for informal settlement upgrading in Mpumalanga, North West, Gauteng, Northern Cape, Limpopo and the Free State.
The Chamber of Mines said its member companies were implementing the Municipal Capacity Building Project which seeks to assist municipalities within mining provinces with scarce skills that were needed for better planning and project implementation.
The chamber was also pleased with government’s intention to fast track the establishment of the Mining LAB for the country.
“This initiative is a demonstration that indeed we are over talk shops but more focused on collective actioned premised on sound economic and administrative decisions and actions that can drive investment, growth and transformation in mining,” said Chief Operating Officer of the Chamber of Mines, Roger Baxter.
Baxter said the chamber was focused on working at a leadership level with government and other stakeholders to promote transformative change to grow investment in the mining sector.
“We are pleased by the pronouncements but we would like to hear more about what will be done on Eskom in the medium term so that that business gains the confidence that its production schedules will not be compromised,” said President of the Chamber of Mines, Mike Teke.
The Chamber said the mining industry was already playing a key role in electricity load reduction and was committed to working with government on sustainable solution, which included the supply from the Grand Inga Project.
“It is critically important for the mining sector and country that we drive collective solutions that restore Eskom’s reserve margin and builds competitive, stable and available electricity supply for the country in the medium and longer term,” the Chamber of Mines said.
The Chamber of Mines has appointed experts who will represent its members in dealing with illegal mining.
“This is a scourge and poses an intrinsic risk to companies, employees and the economy. From a safety point of view as companies we need to guarantee our workforce that these rouge elements will not put them at risk as they go on with their daily work and we have had to increase security measures,” said the second Vice President of the chamber and champion for the elimination of fatalities task team, Graham Briggs.
Source: All Africa
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