The Investing in African Mining Indaba is considered a kind of proxy for the health of the mining industry as a whole. A few years back the annual event was losing its shine. But on its 25th anniversary last week, the indaba — already the largest mining investment conference in the world — hosted the biggest delegation yet. It was also the first time a sitting SA president addressed the event. Renewed optimism in the sector, and the heightened possibility of deal-making, brought people to the indaba in droves — quite an astonishing feat, when one considers that tickets at the door cost R23,000 a pop. Prospects for the sector are improving globally. And green shoots are also appearing in SA, where mining has suffered the effects of chronic policy uncertainty. According to the Minerals Council SA, the mining sector contributed 7.3% to GDP and grew by 1.2% in 2018, "representing a growth rate slightly faster than in the overall economy", said council CEO Roger Baxter. Mineral resources...

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