Government has amended the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act to remove the critical diamond and platinum sub-sectors from the reserve list.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube, announced the developments while presenting the Mid-term Fiscal Policy Review statement and Supplementary Budget in Parliament yesterday.
“Government, through the 2018 Finance Amendment Bill amended the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act and platinum and diamonds are now removed from the reserve list and shareholding will depend on negotiations with investors.
“These investments will, however, take some time (up to 10 years of production) to give visible net benefits in view of long gestation periods for mining projects. Government will, therefore, in the second half of the year unveil a comprehensive strategy and roadmap towards a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023,” he said.
“The attainment of this milestone is not an event but a process, which is well underway with concrete start-ups and expansion of projects in a number of minerals, which include platinum, gold, ferrochrome, coal and hydrocarbons, lithium, diamonds, iron ore, among others.”
With gold remaining the top single foreign currency earning mineral, Government has also proposed to boost mobilisation of the precious mineral by putting in place a Gold Mobilisation Facility.
Said the Finance Minister: “Government is putting in place a Gold Finance Facility to capacitate Fidelity Printers and Refiners to be able to buy gold from all gold producers. The government shall ensure that there is only one system to be used by Fidelity Printers and Refiners for purchasing gold.”
According to Professor Ncube, the first half of the year, the mining sector contributed US$1.3 billion, which is 68% of the total exports of US$1.9 billion.
The sector, which experienced recovery during the first quarter of 2019, apparently faced headwinds during the second quarter, as evidenced by output losses in most major minerals such as gold, platinum, palladium, diamonds, nickel, chrome and coal.
The major constraints are being imposed by foreign currency shortages and the intermittent electricity supply.