Gwede Mantashe. Picture: AFP PHOTO / MUJAHID SAFODIEN
Gwede Mantashe. Picture: AFP PHOTO / MUJAHID SAFODIEN

Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday that a partnership with Russia may be beneficial to the platinum sector.

Mantashe was speaking alongside his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Kobylkin, at the SA-Russia Platinum Group Metals conference in Johannesburg.

He said it would be beneficial for SA to use Russian technology in developing the platinum group metals (PGM) sector.

"In terms of PGMs‚ it is important to illustrate the effort we are putting in increasing the demand for platinum. I’m very excited by seeing attempts to develop uses for PGMs‚" Mantashe said.

"For us in SA‚ PGMs are quite an important sector; it used to be gold …. There are more workers in PGMs than in gold. It’s quite important for us to invest in PGMs. We have no luxury to just sit back and watch them declining." In his short closing speech‚ Mantashe said SA could not sustain its mining unless proper exploration measures were conducted.

"We will benefit if we can partner with Russia in terms of technology. The more we modernise our technology the better all of us are. It is quite important that platinum jewellery is promoted and is grown‚" he said.

The conference started early on Tuesday with various sessions involving local and international mining experts and associates. All sessions‚ apart from the closing address‚ were closed to the public.

According to the programme‚ the sessions covered intergovernmental co-operation between SA and Russia‚ prospecting and exploration of PGMs‚ innovations in extraction and processing these minerals‚ and driving the demand for PGMs.