There are major challenges ahead for small-scale mining in South Africa. With the advent of the new Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act in 2002, many previously disadvantaged South Africans have begun to see small-scale mining as a way to a new life. The government has, through the former Department of Minerals and Energy now DMR, established the Directorate of Small-Scale Mining to develop and address the challenges faced by the small-scale mining sector.
It is essential that small-scale miners in South Africa become integrated into the greater South African mining community and that the sector becomes streamlined it into the mainstream economy. As a result, the South African government has taken active measures to promote the development of this sector.
The small-scale mining sector includes:
Artisanal or subsistence mining operations (new entrants);
Sub-optimal formal mining operations; and
Entrepreneurs with upfront capital.
The department is working to legalise the small-scale mining operations that currently exist, and find ways to help make them economically viable in a way that is relevant, understandable and affordable to small- scale miners.
The Directorate of Small-Scale Mining assists aspiring small-scale miners in the following ways:
A Small-Scale Mining Board has been set up as a point of delivery for the services required by the small- scale mining sector. It co-ordinates a substantial amount of expert capacity and experience and specialises in planning and developing a viable mining project through the pre-feasibility stages. The contribution of each board member is essential for professional development of a successful mining project.
Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act