Mining minerals

South Africa’s geological prospectivity is fantastic, says Minerals Council CEO

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – South Africa’s geological prospectivity is fantastic, says the CEO of the Minerals Council South Africa Roger Baxtesaid Wednesday at the Joburg Indaba.

And this, even though only 15% of South Africa’s land area has been mapped at a high-resolution geophysical level of 50,000 to 1, and even though that country’s endowment has yet to benefit from new technologies. advanced geology. (Also watch the attached video from Creamer Media.)

“The people who find the deposits these days are the mathematicians and statisticians who sit in small offices and look at geological anomalies using algorithms to do that and then send the geologists out to look for the deposit,” he said. Baxter.

This compares to 20 years ago when a hands-on geologist approach was typical.

Baxter presented slides highlighting South Africa’s potential geological opportunities in chromium, platinum group metals, gold, iron ore, titanium minerals and diamonds.

With mining in South Africa being a declining or booming industry, he said, “We have an incredibly world-class mining sector, a business capability that is hard to deny globally, and an engaged and patriotic business sector, who really matters to this country and wants to see South Africa succeed.

“We have significant research, development and innovation capacity, a pipeline of skills from world-class educational institutions and, in some areas, excellent infrastructure, but we are just not getting our levels of service on this infrastructure that we need,” Baxter said.

Having recently returned from Australia, he noted that mining engineering was no longer offered at any of Queensland’s universities, compared to South Africa, which had a surplus of mining engineers coming out of universities. But these could not be employed because the country was failing to develop the mining sector at a fast enough rate – “and we should do something about that”.

Direct dialogue is ongoing with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) on how South Africa can put in place a world-class cadastral system and exploration plan.

” We are progressing. It’s been a bit frustrating in terms of the pace of progress, but it’s not due to a lack of effort,” Baxter said, adding in response to a question that he had a discussion about putting in place of a cadastre with the special adviser to the minister for mineral resources, the deputy minister and the deputy director general in charge of policy during the Africa Downunder conference in Perth.

“It’s an interesting place to engage your government and it was agreed that we need to sort out the cadastre quickly. The position of the Minerals Council remains very clear: buy a new standard cadastral system. We have two world class cadastral systems companies operating in South Africa. You don’t need to develop a whole new bespoke system that will take you three years to become operational.

“We’re talking about an off-the-shelf system that will probably take six months to iron out some of the edges and get up and running and you want a transparent cadastral system that gives you all the pre-converted geological information.

“You also want a licensing system linked to this cadastral system that works on much shorter timelines. Many mining companies tell me that they applied for a prospecting right two years ago and are still waiting, or find that the application is lost or has been given to someone else.

“When you have full transparency, you can make a lot of progress. But at least the DMRE has admitted that Samrad is dysfunctional. Can we consider buying an off-the-shelf system? It’s something we’re really looking for from our end,” Baxter said.

As reported by Weekly mining last month, while South Africa does not have such a cadastre commercially available, other African countries already thriving with such a cadastre include Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique and Zambia.

Worse still, the proud South African supplier of the system to these countries has chosen to withdraw from the DMRE tender – because it is unable to understand the drivers of the terms of reference that the South African DMRE has fixed.

The company involved, Trimble, is expected to go live with Botswana’s new cadastre system by the end of October.

CEO of the Geosciences Council Mosa Mabuza urged all South Africans to rally behind exploration as this country’s “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” because it is essential for the future of mining.