The SA delegation led by President Cyril Ramaphosa returned from Davos with fresh commitment to attract investment, unlock growth and build the skills needed to accelerate job creation in a technologically changing world. Employment in the mining sector, historically the bedrock of SA’s economy, has fallen by a 10th in the past 10 years. At the same time, McKinsey research indicates that the productivity of many SA mining operations has declined, even as mining companies in other regions have rapidly improved productivity. The result is that much of the SA mining industry is losing global competitiveness. When we assessed SA mines in four major commodities — gold, platinum group metals, coal and iron ore — we found that 47% of jobs, along with 42% of revenues, were in the bottom quartile of global cost competitiveness. That means many mines are less profitable than their global peers and more vulnerable to cost or pricing changes. The industry needs to harness the transformative pot...

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