‘Potential mining investors shouldn’t be deterred by Marikana tragedy’

Ngoako Ramatlhodi, who is addressing the Mining Indaba in CT, says his main aim is to assure investors.

The 2015 Annual African Mining Indaba Conference is underway in Cape Town on 10 February 2015. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi says potential investors must not look at the Marikana tragedy as a norm for how labour negotiations play out in South Africa.

Thirty-four miners who were gunned down by police on 16 August 2012 at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

The minister is among other keynote speakers who is addressing the 2015 Annual African Mining Indaba Conference in Cape Town today.

Ramatlhodi says his main aim is to assure investors.

"What I am saying to investors is that instead of sitting back and allowing the strike to last for more than five months, we had to intervene and we did at a political level to resolve the particular strike which is exceptional by the way."

At the same time, the British Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Ian Livingston says South Africa's mining industry needs to ensure long term investment through stable legislation to continue attracting foreign companies to the country's shores.

Livingston yesterday complemented mining companies on what he says are a diversity of services.

He says because mining is about long-term investment, companies need the insurance that they won't have to spend more on royalties through a change of government.

"The uncertainty around the legislation of Parliament, it doesn't help. I think people like to know what it is so they can carry on being that through length of investment. And, the mining investment is very long term, it's a 20, 30, 40 year investment."

Head of mining tax Deloitte Alex Gwala says royalty taxes is just one of the examples that are placing strain on the companies who need to stay afloat.

"The one that is a bit of as challenge is the mining royalty that was introduced in 2010 because it doesn't take into account all the expenses that are incept by the mining company, you might find that a mining company is struggling making losses but if there is a percentage of tax to pay, they will have to pay the taxes."

He says the industry grew by a negative 22.3 percent last year and if further taxes are introduced junior miners will be the most affected.