Give mining a new deal and it’ll strike a mighty blow against poverty
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There is no doubt that mining, with its multiplicity of forward, backward and lateral linkages, is a poverty buster in waiting. Shadow Mineral Resources Minister James Lorimer, MP, was spot on when he said as much in Parliament last week during the Budget Vote of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy. But it is also true that to enable mining to strike a mighty blow against poverty, the mining sector needs a new deal of transparent cadastral rights with rapid, efficient and honest licensing.
The penny also needs to drop that the greenfield exploration needed to keep mining growing simply has to be incentivised. Greenfield exploration is very much a hit-and-miss endeavour that tax breaks to investors in listed exploration companies in other mining jurisdictions fund. The National Treasury has twice concurred that such tax breaks should be introduced but has also twice introduced unsuccessful incentivisation because of trying to reinvent the wheel.
What the National Treasury must set about doing right away is to implement what has been hugely successful in other mining jurisdictions. If it does, it will set off a bout of exploration investment never before seen in this part of the prospective world and put South Africa on a poverty-busting course.