The three main industry organisations representing smaller-scale mines in South Africa have formed a combined Leadership Forum to represent the interests of members at the highest levels through the Minerals Council.

             Nico Pienaar, director of Aspasa.

The decision comes after a meeting held in Kimberley recently where representatives from ASPASA, the Claybrick Association and the South African Diamond Producers Organisation, known as CAS, committed to cooperate and combine the voices of the bodies’ members in order to better serve their common interests.

Aspasa director Nico Pienaar says that as serving members of the Minerals Council the newly formed Leadership Forum will allow the bodies better address issues such as prohibitive legislation for large mines that is not always applicable to smaller mines, power shortages, insufficient rail infrastructure, diesel rebates, Royalty Act, illegal mining and a host of other issues.

Real representation

“The Minerals Council does not always grasp the problems smaller mines face and it is our intention to conduct surveys among our individual memberships in order to identify issues that need to be carefully documented and communicated to the council’s decision makers.

“We have already identified a number of shared concerns that threaten the livelihoods of our members including illegal mining, criminal activities on mines, extortion carried out by “Mafia-like groups, impractical charter requirements and several others.

“Simultaneously, we want to engage all the relevant authorities and stakeholders in order to develop frameworks that are specific to our sector of the industry rather than working within a framework that is designed for big mines with big budgets and vast human resources. By comparison, small operations do not have these kinds of resources and in many instances may rely on one manager to take care of operations and be expected to comply with complicated rules, legislation, among others,” says Pienaar.

Master plan

He adds that the establishment of the Leadership Forum will better guide the council on issues relating to smaller operations and eliminate misinformation about the sector in future. It will also allow for the development of a master plan that is in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for industries to develop master plans to share with government as well as Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and the Minerals Council.

This will ensure that there is a better understanding of what the issues are and the makeup of the industries, big or small. The Minerals Council will attend the combined CAS meetings to gain insight into the issues, challenges and opportunities of this proportionally large sector of the mining industry with at least three meetings to be held annually.

 “Although each body will still continue with its own functions and operations as in the past, we will strive to work together, stand together and ensure that jobs are created, corruption is eliminated and professionalism is returned to our sector of the industry,” concludes Pieanaar.

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