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African Business 2022 Q1

  • Text
  • Africa
  • Wwwglobalafricanetworkcom
  • Sector
  • Geoscience
  • Renewable
  • Countries
  • Climate
  • Hydrogen
  • Exploration
  • Global
  • Lesotho
  • African
A unique guide to business and investment in Africa. The third issue of African Business marks a departure for this respected guide to business and investment on the continent. The first two journals were published in 2020 and 2021 but as of 2022, African Business is a quarterly journal. Every edition will carry editorial copy that will cover the following general topics, with a wide range of subjects within the broader economic sector: energy; mining and exploration; trade; finance; technology and tourism. In addition to this, special features on topical matters will be published periodically, along with country profiles.

LEADING THE MARCH TO

LEADING THE MARCH TO RE-IMAGINE MINERAL EXPLORATION The CEO of the Council for Geoscience, Mosa Mabuza, explains why the time is exactly right to align the amount of exploration South Africa does with the incredible potential of the country’s mineral wealth. is another country that is keen to develop its mineral prospects. When they discovered oil in the Sixties, they decided they would rely on oil so they held the development of minerals in abeyance. It is only now that they are seeking to diversify their economic basket and minerals development is one of those areas. Above: The CEO of the Council for Geoscience, Mosa Mabuza BIOGRAPHY ___ ___ ___ ____ After qualifying as a geologist from Wits University, Mosa held various positions at De Beers and Anglo American and worked in jurisdictions as varied as West Africa and Canada. From his appointment as the Director of Mineral Economics in the former Department of Minerals and Energy, he was promoted to Deputy Director-General of Mineral Policies and (Investment) Promotion in 2012. He has been CEO of CGS since 2017. What is CGS doing in Eswatini? We were approached by the Eswatini kingdom and the Council for Geoscience counterpart there to assist them with a geophysics survey for the country. We are almost done with the section we started to survey and we are already in conversation to cover other parts. The kingdom is beginning to appreciate the value of geoscience and they are investing in geoscience holistically. They are very keen on mineral development, particularly the extension of the Barberton rocks into Eswatini. Because of gold? Yes, gold-bearing rocks, as well as other minerals. The big interest now is in rare earth elements. The world has developed an appetite for rare elements and there is no better place to be looking for them than in the African continent. Are you active elsewhere in Africa? We’ve been active in many parts of the African continent where we have collaborated with the geological surveys of many countries. We have a footprint of around 50% of the African continent historically, but we are currently active in Namibia and Eswatini, and we are finalising our arrangement with Malawi. We have an active discussion with the Ivorians. We supported the South African president recently in a state visit to Ivory Coast and they are very keen to explore collaboration with CGS. Nigeria 6 What is the nature of your collaboration? It’s country specific. Sometimes it is institutional capacity, sometimes we collaborate on analysis or we send staff or we host their staff. Our approach to the African continent is that we see ourselves as equal partners. We are also the permanent secretariat of the organisation of African Geological Surveys, which is into the 15th year of its existence. It is a coalition of the willing and all member states of the African Union can step forward and participate in the Organisation of African Geological Surveys (OAGS). We look at projects of common interest. From a geological perspective I think South Africa remains the most attractive in minerals as well as oil and gas frontier nation. Does OAGS have an annual conference? We have an AGM and every two years we organise a geological conference at different countries. Any other international agreements? We have active collaboration with European geological surveys. We have just entered the second phase of a project with our European partners. It gives practical training and we share experiences. There is a lot of deep knowledge in the African continent. The Europeans invested €10-million into this initiative which ran over three years. The OAGS and the European Geological Surveys (EGS) have now entered the second phase of this collaboration. What progress has been made on the new exploration strategy of the CGS? The thing that has me most excited is that the South African government has put its money where its mouth is. We have received support of half-a-billion rand in additional funding as a directive to spearhead the re-imagination of exploration in South Africa. There was a time when we used to have a 5% share of global exploration expenditure. In 2003 we peaked at 0-million in exploration but we have been hovering below 0-million for 15 years or so, which is less than 1% of the global exploration expenditure. We have been given orders to recapture the 5% minimum. CGS will not do exploration but CGS does its work to catalyse exploration activities.

MINERALS EXPLORATION And you rely on national government to provide a steady framework in which investors feel comfortable and Eskom will supply power? You have all of those things in a basket. I am encouraged with the energy-security conversation that government and parliament are having and all the plans that are in place. You do exploration today to mine in 10 or 15 years. By the time we are ready to mine I am convinced that we would have resolved all of these energy challenges. This is a temporary challenge in my view. This exploration activity that has reached its lowest ebb is inconsistent with the geology of this country. It is not geology alone that will encourage exploration but without geology, you don’t have anything. This is the time for us to have our hands on deck and private sector participation is key. We are very keen to work with the private sector to unlock the value that we have. The last calculation we did of gross in situ value of minerals in South Africa is .6-trillion. What are the key principles of the exploration strategy? We have asked the question: Why is the level of exploration in this country not consistent with the quality of geology? Why is it that people are not investing in South Africa? We had to have a frank discussion. If we are part of the problem then we must be honest. We have identified barriers and we have recommended interventions. At political level, we said that there seem to be contradictions and lack of streamlining of pieces of legislation that are frustrating the mining industry. You go to various departments for a prospecting right, an environmental authorisation, a water-use licence and then we have protected areas. We respect the environment and we understand the importance of conservation but we equally understand that there must be Left: The SA Agulhas II will serve as a platform to explore maritime potential. Credit: DFFE Below: The Maltese Cross is a natural rock formation formed by the weathering of sandstone in the upper Peninsula Formation at the farm Dwarsrivier, Cederberg. In the ground? Yes, and that excludes any additional potential from the extension of existing mineral systems. We have been too comfortable because we have been mining gold for 150 years. We have looked in the normal places and now we are discovering that these systems are actually extending into other areas that have a geological continuity. We think that we have entered a new era of not only talking about exploration. There is no better time for us to bring the crème de la crème of geoscientists to study our geology and to develop models that can fast-track exploration activities. We have seen globally that exploration is ticking up, post- Covid. We have entered the next boom of exploration and potentially mining. The timing for us to do this work has never been more impeccable. 7

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