SA Official Calls for Mining Diversification


"Other than gold, the nation's minerals have enjoyed long-term growth."

A senior South African mining official said on Thursday mining companies should intensify diversification beyond their traditional trade to help grow the economy.

Paul Mwape, a deputy director at the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), said production of metals other than gold had been rising since 2001, countering assertions that the country's mining industry was in decline.

Mwape said total primary mineral sales had risen to $28.61 billion in 2009 from $14.3 billion in 1994.

South Africa supplies close to two-thirds of the world's platinum and is the world's fourth-largest gold producer, after China, Australia and the United States. It is also a major global ferrochrome supplier.

"In order to contribute towards the government's goals. . .the mining industry must intensify diversification beyond the current reliance on traditional trade of primary minerals," Mwape said in a statement.

"This will require the promotion of increased value addition," he said.

Mwape said with the exception of gold, almost all the country's major minerals had experienced long-term growth and large-scale investment projects, currently at varying stages of development across all commodities, would further raise production of metals.

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