The R1bn inaugural JSS Empowerment Mining Fund launched at the ENSafrica offices in Sandton on Thursday, boosting prospects for emergent miners. It aims to provide working capital to help junior opencast mining projects that have reached bankable feasibility stage get started. The average investment size is about R88m. The fund is a joint venture between boutique advisory firm Jaltech, JSE-listed construction group Stefanutti Stocks and Venture Capital Management Services, which specialises in ventures eligible for Section 12J tax relief. "We are looking at eight projects totalling R703m ," said Jaltech cofounder and director Gaurav Nair. "What we think we have created is a vehicle for the lowest-risk investment in junior miners," he said. Former finance minister Trevor Manuel told delegates at the launch event that South Africans were bound together and defined by mining. He said investors needed to defend the sector from being seen as a "sunset industry". Nair said Stefanutti Stoc...

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