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The world’s global resource funds, whose interest in mining investments has risen in the past year, have SA in the same category as countries such as South Sudan. It is regarded as pretty much a no-go area, said speakers at last week’s 2017 Junior Indaba. This is bad news for attracting foreign investment into exploration. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, Southern Africa attracted only 4% of global exploration budgets last year, against Canada’s 14% share and Australia’s 13%. West Africa attracted 5%. Without investment in exploration, SA’s mining industry has no long-term future. The annual two-day Junior Indaba, organised by witty and outspoken former Harmony Gold CEO Bernard Swanepoel, attracts about 200 representatives of junior mining companies and advisers from Southern Africa. Canvassed for their opinions, delegates said it was not the quality of a mineral resource that could make or break a project, but the legal and regulatory environment. No representatives fro...

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