The cautious optimism of delegates at this year’s Investing in African Mining Indaba was a positive sign for the continent’s mining industry, and once again highlighted the sector’s potential.
“This year’s event again emphasised the fact that mining and agriculture are key economic drivers in economies like South Africa,” said Ralf Hennecke, Managing Director of Omnia Group company BME. “The enthusiasm accompanying the Indaba shows how much has been achieved, and how much more value can still be generated from minerals – to stimulate inclusive growth across Africa.”
This year’s Indaba is the first opportunity for delegates to meet face-to-face since the event was held in February 2020. Hennecke noted that the engagement with delegates at BME’s exhibition stand at the Indaba showed the importance of regular and direct contact.
“It has certainly been valuable to meet new faces and reconnect with people at this event,” he said. “The industry still faces many challenges to its progress, and these conference interactions are a great opportunity to share ideas and start finding solutions for mining operations, wherever they are located.”
He noted that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic was still being felt in mining supply chains around the world, including Africa. These had been further compounded by the ripple effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. There was still a significant supply constraint in global shipping services, for instance, raising both costs and turnaround times in mining logistics.
“As a supplier of critical mining inputs like explosives, BME deals constantly with supply chain issues arising from factors ranging from weak infrastructure to border efficiency,” he said. “These topics are raised regularly at the Indaba, and it is hoped that this contributes to gradual improvements in the cost of doing business in these economies.”
The event also provided a platform for governments to showcase their progress in developing conducive conditions for investment. In some cases, these efforts have borne fruit, said Hennecke, but a level of uncertainty still held many investors back. Among the areas where mining companies sought greater predictability were taxation, royalties, resource nationalism and permitting.
“The Indaba continues to reflect the commitment of the mining sector to environmental, social and governance (ESG) interventions, which paves the way for more collaborative relationships with stakeholders,” he said. “It is worth adding that mines are generally well supported by their key suppliers when it comes to achieving their social licence to operate, including the engagement and upliftment of host communities.”
BME’s Marketing Manager, Michelle Fedder said that in its interactions with Indaba delegates, BME was able to share its commitment to key United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals – in alignment with the values of the Omnia Group.
“In our contribution to mining around Africa, we continue to drive change by innovating to enhance life, together creating a greener future,” she said. “This can be achieved through collaborative, sustainable practices that build the growth and resilience of the continent’s mining sector.”