South Africa expects $900Mn in annual mineral exploration by 2025

South Africa is looking to attract an annual investment of $900 million in mineral wealth exploration by means of augmenting resource mapping, removing bottlenecks and spreading its focus away from precious metals like gold.

The investment, which corresponds to 5% of the annual spend on exploration worldwide, is expected to be achieved by 2025 and will be used to reinvigorate the region’s mining industry which has deteriorated in recent years.

Unveiled by the Department of Minerals Resources and Energy (DMRE), the long-awaited investigation strategy comes in response to rising metal prices which will consequently enhance the government's revenue. Additionally, the department is planning to cut off the country's dependence on gold by emphasizing on metals that are required in battery storage, electric vehicles, and hydrogen production.

DMRE said in a statement that with the deteriorating resources of gold, the appeal of the South African mining industry stands in minerals, which will possess high demand in the future.

South Africa was one of the world's biggest producers of gold for around decades; however, the production has collapsed as the deposits have gotten deeper and are far more expensive to access.

The country possesses the world's biggest deposits of battery metal vanadium, chrome, platinum-group metals, and manganese. 

Meanwhile, challenges of exploration strategy include poor geoscientific data and policy implementation, frequent strikes, inadequate electricity generation, and community unrest.

In the Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2021, South Africa was ranked at 75th of 84 jurisdictions, standing as a benchmark of the region's attractiveness to mining investment.

Roger Baxter, chief executive officer of Minerals Council South Africa, who represents most establishments functioning in the country, said that this is a deeply unacceptable reflection of the mining industry’s condition in South Africa. The country is not getting any traction or urgency it seeks to witness for resolving these challenges.

As part of initiatives to boost exploration, South Africa aims to improve data on its mineral deposits and offer enhanced technical support to small mining companies.

Source Credit - https://www.bloombergquint.com/technology/s-africa-sets-900-million-annual-mineral-exploration-target