Don't shop for Lamborghinis with your mining fund money: deputy minister
Deputy minister of mineral resources and energy Nobuhle Nkabane has called on beneficiaries of the newly established small-scale mining fund to avoid shopping for Lamborghinis with the proceeds.
Speaking to women during a panel discussion at the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Wednesday, Nkabane said: “We want to make sure that if you get that funding it is going to be monitored. If you get that fund you need to do what is expected of you not to go shopping and buy Lamborghinis.”
The R25m small-scale mining fund is a payable loan which aims to enable small mining companies in possession of valid mining permits to acquire rehabilitation and capital equipment. It will be administered by the Industrial Development Corporation and is available to companies with the potential to create jobs.
Nkabane said there was scope for increasing the funds next year.
“You can say the budget is not enough, but you have to start somewhere to get somewhere. We are hoping that in the next financial year we are going to increase the fund to make sure that more women, more young people and more people with disabilities benefit from those programmes.”
The fund is among initiatives aimed at helping improve the competitiveness of small mining companies.
On Tuesday the department launched a R400m exploration fund to bolster new mines by helping junior mining enterprises to get funds for prospecting work, and increase access to mine ore bodies.
Nkabane said through the diggers' programme, the department had empowered 223 women to become diggers and eight of them had since applied for small-scale mining permits.
However, in addition to underrepresentation, sexual harassment in mining operations was a challenge.
Rashka Naidoo, chair of Women in Mining South Africa, said research on sexual harassment is often kept under wraps.
“A lot of research gets done in mining houses but doesn’t get revealed because a lot of people are doing gender-based assessments as tick-box exercises. People are being appointed to do things just to tick a box so there is a quota that is reached and everybody is happy because on paper it looks better,” she said.
Ege Tekinbas, senior policy adviser for gender equity at the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development, said given technology advancement, the World Economic Forum estimated that 20% of large-scale mining will be redundant in two years.
She said the highest risk for redundancy is expected for low to mid-skilled workers, mainly women.