Numsa welcomes mineral beneficiation

In its submission to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill (B15-2013] Numsa has welcomed the proposed amendment of S26 (Mineral Beneficiation) of Act 28 of 2002, as amended by section 22 of Act 49 of 2008.

Briefly, these amendments seek to give the Minister the power to: determine the percentage of a mineral resource that must be made available for local value addition, set a developmental price for the designated mineral/s, seek written consent from any person who intends to export designated minerals

Export taxes
While Numsa has advocated and lobbied for the introduction of export taxes on minerals leaving the country the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) believes that an amended S26 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) will achieve the same effect and contribute significantly to enhance our domestic manufacturing sector.

However, in welcoming these amendments to S26 Numsa’s own policy position on beneficiation remains unchanged. As the union prepared for its 9th National Congress in 2012 Numsa released its own internal discussion document entitled Towards a Metallic Minerals Beneficiation Strategy for South Africa, May 2012.

Three value chains
The document identifies three value chains that are ‘crucial to the productive industrial process’:
• the steel value chain, which concentrates many of the minerals that are currently required for any industrialisation to take place the Platinum Group Metals (PGM) value chain, which is regarded as the value-chain for the future, rich in scientific possibilities and fertile for research and development
the metal-based chemicals beneficiation, which still needs to seriously take off the ground in South Africa.

In its document the union goes on to argue that the dominance by monopolies and foreign ownership is the biggest obstacle to the implementation of a meaningful beneficiation strategy and ‘these global monopolies determine South Africa’s non-policy, as evidenced in the deliberately weak government beneficiation strategy document’, (Numsa, 2012: 53).

Numsa believes that the political and socio-economic transformation of our society is necessary to ensure that all South Africans benefit from our abundant reserves of natural resources.

As the MPRD amendment Bill seeks to address these inequalities we are mindful of the fact that ownership patterns of our natural resources are skewed and lie in the hands of big multi-national companies that continue to exploit our natural resources while the majority of our people live in poverty and hardship.

The union will continue to campaign for more collective ownership of our natural resources under state ownership so that the fruits of beneficiation are enjoyed by all.