South Africa considers gold, platinum ‘rescue plan’

In an effort to place South Africa’s smashed platinum and gold industries on a recovery path, Mineral Resources Minister, Susan Shabanguon, announced Tuesday her department is planning to develop a rescue plan to keep the sectors sustainability.

According to City Press, Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) officials have been instructed to “urgently” look at a rescue plan for the two key metals, focusing on supply- and demand-side interventions.

Shabanguon added the recently concluded bilateral agreement between South Africa and Russia, under which the nations agreed to cooperate on platinum group metals (PGMs) initiatives, would contribute to the creation of a suite of interventions aimed to help the platinum industry regain its former stability.

Africa’s largest economy has been severely affected by a series of mining strikes since last year, which caused over $1.04 billion in lost mining production and shed around 0.5% off gross domestic product, Statistics South Africa said today.

GDP growth slowed to an annualized 0.9% in the fiscal first quarter from 2.1% in the fourth, the agency said.

Analysts agree this data shows the country’s economy expanded at the slowest pace since the 2009 recession.

Despite the gloomy number Shabangu said the outlook for the South African mining industry is “extremely attractive” and called for its modernization. She said it was necessary to end to migrant labour models that have lingered since the end of the apartheid system of racial segregation in 1994, which involve workers taking jobs far from their hometowns and regions.

“This system results in mineworkers leading multiple families, which they struggle to sustain,” Shabangu was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

She added mining firms should develop a 10-year strategy to make the practice obsolete, as that would increase the competitiveness of South African mines and better the operating and living conditions of workers.