EY's expectations from the upcoming mining Indaba

04 February 2020 Consultancy.co.za

Ahead of the Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Monday, EY Africa Partner Khetiwe Cebekulu has laid down four talking points that are crucial to work through for the welfare of South Africa’s mining sector. Digitalisation and the future of mining feature on the list, among other issues. 

Cebekulu’s first talking point is the situation at Eskom and the effect this is having on South African mining. Eskom is the state-back power distribution company in South Africa, and ongoing woes and restructuring at the entity has caused significant disruption to power-intensive industries such as mining.

“If Eskom can’t be relied on, will mining companies then finally be allowed to create their own energy sources?” is the key question that must be answered at the Mining Indaba according to Cebekulu. The second issue that must be discussed is the growing menace of illegal mining.

Cebekulu stresses the importance of clear licensing and regulation mechanisms, and provisions to enforce these mechanisms. The mining sector, and consequently the South African economy as a whole, are losing billions in revenue to illegal mining activities across the country.

Mining Indaba 2020, Cape Town

The third and fourth talking points for Cebekulu have been central in discourse across South Africa’s mining sector in recent years. Cebekulu recommends that experts at the Indaba discuss the future of mining for one, and the implementation of technology within the mining sector as the other.

The former deals with a variety of factors, including investment in exploration and the development of necessary skills to run a modern mining operation. The latter tackles the use of various Industry 4.0 technologies such as artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) to make operations in the mining sector more efficient.

As mining revenues in South Africa have dwindled in recent years, many have been working on developing digital mining solutions. “It is becoming increasingly clear that the future of mining is being stimulated by the 4IR, a business enabler and factor in risk management,” said Cebekulu.

Commenting on the broader importance of all the talking points, Cebekulu added, “Considering the Mining Indaba’s theme this year is to optimise growth and investment in a digitized mining economy, it is particularly important to recognise that the only route to long-term sustainability in the mining industry is to have certainty on regulatory policies and infrastructure security.”


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