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Equal remedy will probably be our demise – alluvial diamond miners’ plea to Gwede Mantashe

  • In December, alluvial diamond producers wrote to the Mineral Assets and Power Minister Gwede Mantashe, calling for growth-stimulating coverage changes to help rising alluvial diamond miners.
  • Mantashe is but to reply to the problem raised by a physique which represents 130 junior diamond miners.
  • Business representatives say with out conducive coverage framework, the sector faces a sluggish demise.

SA alluvial diamond miners need authorities to help them and assist “stage” the taking part in discipline, as an alternative of making use of a blanket method to minerals coverage. 

As one of many international locations in Africa with alluvial diamond deposits, South Africa, has potential within the business that entrepreneurs imagine stays largely untapped as a result of a inflexible coverage framework and lack of funding. 

In contrast to deep-level typical mining, alluvial diamonds are extracted from deposits of sand, gravel and clay. They’re generally present in Namaqualand, the North West and the northern components of the Free State, with miners starting from artisanal, small-scale and junior miners.

The operators – by way of the SA Diamond Producers’ Organisation (SADPO), which represents 130 junior diamond producers – in December wrote to Mineral Assets and Power Minister Gwede Mantashe, calling for progress stimulating coverage changes to help entrants to the sector. 

From funding to the issuing of prospecting to mining permits, which might take greater than a yr to course of, alluvial miners are aggrieved by what they are saying is a cumbersome blanket method in present minerals coverage, which has confirmed to be restrictive to the expansion of firms.

“It isn’t that we’re asking to be handled in another way, however we’re interesting for presidency help and a stage taking part in discipline,” mentioned mining entrepreneur Amo Marengwa, who’s a member of SADPO.

Marengwa, who is predicated within the North West city of Lichteburg, says alluvial diamond miners are struggling to draw funding, as a result of lack of incentives for traders linked to insurance policies that “don’t create a conducive setting for small gamers”.

“We’re ruled by the identical coverage and laws which are designed for larger firms … even entry to funding is near unattainable,” Marengwa instructed Fin24.

SADPO’s proposal on the Artisanal and Small-scale Diamond Mining coverage framework is that it must be commodity-specific, primarily based on the truth that diamonds are the one mineral to have a separate act, and {that a} “one-size-fits-all” method would possibly result in failure.

Sluggish demise

The physique additionally requires the creation of a small miners improvement fund to drive transformation, job creation, better entry to data and technical help from the Council of Geoscience and Mintek.

“What the federal government is doing is much like chopping the wings of a hen and nonetheless count on it to fly,” mentioned Marengwa.

Whereas diamond mining within the nation and the southern African area is dominated by De Beers, with a historical past relationship centuries, alluvial miners don’t mine a single website for a chronic time frame, as transfer from place to position. Mining operations relocated least as soon as each 15 months, in accordance with the business physique.

Mantashe’s division is but to reply to SADPO proposition, and within the meantime enterprise homeowners like Marengwa whose operations present jobs to communities the place employment alternatives are scarce.

The sector additional proposes that diamonds recovered from prospecting operations must be exempt from the 15% beneficiation requirement to export with out paying the 5% export levy as these operations are typically small and can’t afford to beneficiate 15% of small samples or run the chance of not recovering the 5 % export obligation. 

“With out conducive coverage framework, our sector is dealing with a sluggish demise,” he mentioned.

Based on the World Diamond Council, alluvial diamond deposits are discovered on the Atlantic coast of South Africa and Namibia, and in riverbeds in Angola, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Ghana, Liberia, Tanzania, Togo, Brazil, and Venezuela.

They’re swept by winds, rain, and water currents from their main deposits in kimberlite pipes and miners construct partitions or divert rivers to reveal the diamond-bearing deposits. Artisanal miners usually sift by way of the sand and dig manually to achieve deposits.

Of the seven million carats of diamonds mined in South Africa yearly, between 2% to 4% comes from alluvial producers, in accordance SADPO.

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