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South African Business 2023

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The 2023 Guide to Business and Investment in South Africa.

INTERVIEW New mapping

INTERVIEW New mapping shows that South African mining could have a strong future Mosa Mabusa, CEO of the Council for Geoscience, strongly believes that geoscience should not be seen as a cost centre, but rather as an investment in the country’s future. Mosa Mabuza, CEO 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 are the short- and medium-term goals of the Council for Geoscience? We are accelerating the organisation’s strategic reorientation. None of us could have expected the extent of the disasters in KwaZulu- Natal and the Eastern Cape so we are looking at how far we can reallocate resources so that we can contribute to that response. In the main, we continue to map at the scale of 1:50 000. We are building from a foundation that our forebears have constructed. We are standing on their shoulders. We are focused on identifying and confirming the presence of critical minerals in economic concentrations, to support emerging industries and the Just Energy Transition Programme. We have a focus on infrastructure and land-use work and supporting Eskom with the probabilistic seismic-hazardassessment study for the application of the extension of Koeberg. We are working on groundwater and modelling so that we gain a greater understanding of groundwater as an asset. There is a national goal of reimagining mineral exploration in South Africa with a target of achieving a share of 5% of the global expenditure by 2025. To get there, we have to quadruple our efforts. Our geology confirms that notwithstanding 150 years of mining history, we have not begun to mine in South Africa. What is the significance of the new mapping? Higher-intensity mapping provides greater clarity of information so that the exploration community can make decisions to invest. We have always known of pegmatite rock in the Northern Cape. It is a lithium-bearing rock and there are other possible rare earth elements. With mapping at this scale, we can confirm an extension of this pegmatite rock by a further 67%. We published a map in March and we are saying to the investment community that these critical minerals are a new centre of focus for investment. This is a test case to demonstrate that money that goes into geoscience is not a cost centre – it is an investment. SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS 2023 48

Please give an update on the carbon capture storage project. We are implementing it in partnership with the World Bank and it is progressing exceptionally well. Govan Mbeki Local Municipality in Mpumalanga has been supportive of this research and they have ceded the land. They are saying to us please do this research to help us to make appropriate choices. We are taking a comprehensive stakeholderled approach. Our message is that in our world of science we don’t know what we don’t know. Allow us to do the science so that we can establish the facts, then we can guide you. We have already concluded the geophysics high-resolution survey and geological mapping. We are excited that basalt is proving to be one of the sources of environmentally-appropriate sequestration materials for carbon. We are finding that once the emissions are captured, there are numerous applications that, depending on the volume, could catalyse a range of economic activities. I have come across the most interesting technology that suggests that coal could actually be a reliable source of green hydrogen. This is something I want to test. Now imagine if this hypothesis is proven to be correct. Then I can argue that, through science, we have indeed greened our coal. Science should not have any ideological predisposition. The greatest risk is when choices are made without the scientific interpretation. That makes me nervous, not only about our country but about humanity at large. I am hopeful that this research can prove that indeed coal can be the most reliable source of hydrogen. I call it the new gold of renewable energy. And then coal becomes that which renewable energy depends on. What are the main objectives of the CGS Summit? The key objective is to bring to the fore and celebrate the contribution of geoscience to South Africa’s development. But we also want to examine the renewables debate. People talk about renewables very loosely, but to sustain the current demands of energy (not including future demands), the existing global reserves of copper would only cater to 35% of that – and that is only for renewable energy. Mapping to the scale of 1:50 000 is revealing new things about South Africa’s mineral resources. We need to be looking at where are we going. What are the next sources of copper and other minerals that will support our strategic choices? Geoscience plays the key role as a pathfinder to those types of minerals. Increasingly our role will become even more important to society as we advance in line with the choices that we are making. There are certain things that we need to do today and in the next five to 10 years that will lay the new foundation for the next 110 years. This summit will consider these things. We will be celebrating the crème de la crème, the professors of our country who have been guardians and who have played a critical role in advancing the body of knowledge of geoscience. We should never take that for granted. Is there international participation? The summit is in a hybrid format to enable physical and virtual participation. We have a global footprint of interest that spans all the continents. What makes us even more excited is that some of our very distant partners are already packing their bags as all roads lead to eThekwini to celebrate geoscience. We have chosen eThekwini because of the disaster that happened there. Parallel sessions will focus on the applications of geoscience such as geo-hazards, infrastructure and optimal land use. We can begin to demonstrate that some things can be averted with the preapplication of geoscience. ■ SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS 2023

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