Picture: SOWETAN
Picture: SOWETAN

Recent articles on transformation generally and the mining industry in particular have an almost surreal aspect to them. What is a mine? It is a very large volume of mineralised rock in the ground that has been discovered, often by the expenditure of much money at risk of failure of the exploration. Vast sums of money are then committed to build the infrastructure on the ground, and either sink shafts or remove overburden to access the mineral and do whatever processing may be necessary to make it marketable.

All this requires people who have money and are willing to put it at risk in the venture. It requires people who have training, expertise and the experience to make a stretch of ground previously growing crops or grazed by livestock into a mine that will employ perhaps thousands for many years, paying wages and salaries, royalties and taxes, and interest and dividends to those who provided the initial risk and ongoing capital. Historically, these resources for mines in Southern Africa have been provided by Europeans.

Ndavhe Mareda seems to endorse the proposition that simply because a person is black, that person should, one way or another, be given 30% of the value of an existing mine through the revised Mining Charter (How long-term black ownership is key to SA’s mining success, August 1).

Surely, if black people wish to be involved in a mining venture they should, as an exclusive racial group, put up the risk capital themselves, find the skills and trained personnel and create their own mine, or buy a small one and expand it?

Perhaps the National Union of Mineworkers and its well-paid executives could be persuaded to invest in the venture.

Robert Stone

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