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Challenging time for mining sector

Delegates from more than 100 nations are meeting at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town.

The mining industry in South Africa is beset by labour unrest, low production figures and soaring operating costs.

CAPE TOWN - Delegates from more than a 100 nations are attending the annual Mining Indaba in the Western Cape this week.

The four-day conference kicked off at the Cape Town International Convention Centre earlier today.

It's being held at a challenging time for the mining industry in South Africa, which is beset by labour unrest, low production figures and soaring operating costs.

These problems, compounded by a low demand for commodities, are making investors nervous about spending their money in this country.

These issues will no doubt drive discussion at the Indaba and set the tone for many more discussions.

At one of the sessions this morning, delegates looked at the role of public geodata services and exploration projects in Africa.

One of the panellists explained that the majority of exploration funds spent on the continent have been in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with $2.4 billion spent last year.

JITTERY INVESTORS

An accounting and business consulting firm says mistrust between government, unions and mine bosses is hampering growth in the domestic mining industry.

Investors are jittery as the sector has been rocked by labour unrest and soaring operating costs.

The sector's many problems will feature prominently at the annual Mining Indaba.

BDO South Africa's Head of Mining Bert Lopes says co-operation and leadership is needed to deal with the industry's problems.

"I'm talking about a collective of government, labour the mining houses and CEOs that have got to get together. Without that there's mistrust and not enough dialogue."

Click here for a special feature on this year's Mining Indaba.