BAGUIO CITY – South African Ambassador to the Philippines Bartinah Ntombizodwa Radebe-Netshitenzhe underscored that both South Africa and the Philippines have similar issues and concerns confronting the mining industry that warrants the implementation of common strategies to sustain the vibrance of the mining sector that will spur the economic growth of both mineral-rich nations.
Netshitenzhe, who was the guest of honor and speaker during the 68th Annual Mine Safety and Environment Conference held at the CAP Cultural and Trade Center in Camp John hay (CJH), informed the over 1,000 mining professionals that mining is one of South Africa’s major economic driver having contributed double digit to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and with an increasing turnover of production after the first years of the COVID-19 pandemic where the latest was more than 8 percent growth compared to the first semester of last year.
Like the Philippines, the envoy admitted that South Africa has also numerous social, environmental and political issues besetting the mining industry but the government is instituting measures to address these and help in sustaining the growth of mining that had been bolstering the country’s economy over the past several decades.
She admitted that small-scale mining is also a major concern of the South African government which is similar to the problems being encountered by the Philippines that is why the government is trying to regulate the operations of small-scale miners so that the income will accrue to the coffers of the State which will be used to provide basic services to the people.
The South African ambassador stated that their government is also inviting investors to infuse the needed capital to put up the mines in strategic parts of South Africa to help sustain the country’s economic growth.
Among the minerals that are being mined in South Africa include platinum, diamond, gold, coal, manganese, lithium and uranium.
On the efforts to preserve and protect South Africa’s environment, she claimed that the government and the mining companies are doing their best to ensure that the impacts of climate change will be effectively and efficiently mitigated through community-based environmental preservation and protection endeavors in partnership with the communities.
Netshitenzhe disclosed that mine-related fatalities in their country had decreased by 39 percent during the first semester of this year compared to the number of mining-related fatalities during the same period last year.
However, she stipulated that most of the reported mining-related came from illegal mining activities that prompted the government to implement stringent regulations governing mining operations to curb illegal mining activities in various parts of South Africa and significantly reduce the deaths due to these extractive operations.
She emphasized that South Africa advocates for responsible mining among the operating mining companies to sustain the contribution of mining to the overall growth and development of the country whose major source of income is the mineral deposits in the different parts of the nation.