Gaborone — There is sufficient space within the mining industry for junior mining companies to operate sustainably within the African continent, Botswana Chamber of Mines chief executive officer, Mr Charles Siwawa, has said.
Giving a keynote address at the an Africa Mining Summit in Gaborone on September 25, Mr Siwawa said junior mining companies were suitable for mineral deposits discovered lately, which were generally of inferior grade and at times offering high operational costs.
"The junior mining companies are suitable for this type of mineral exploitation with their abilities to reduce overheads and focus on the technical portion of the mining value chain," he said.
Botswana Chamber of Mines CEO said legislative authorities should look at provision for applying different operational structures in the running of junior mining companies as opposed to large corporates without compromising safety and environmental considerations to reduce overheads and make the operations more sustainable.
The junior mining companies, Mr Siwawa said, were challenged with the same market conditions as the large corporates in running the operations, such as fluctuations in the price of commodities and increasing operational costs.
For that reason, he said it was essential that companies remained at the bottom of the curve that offered some protection against market forces.
Additionally, Mr Siwawa said there was also need to invest in the latest technologies to win the minerals from the ground.
"There has always been the debate of deploying technology as opposed to remaining with what the industry has acquired, so far, in the interest of creating jobs and ensuring sustainable employment of the communities the mines operate from," he said.
However, he stressed that "the facts are that if we do not move with technology, we cannot maintain ourselves at the bottom of the curve and hence sustainability becomes questionable."
He said the revenue that junior mining companies added to the fiscals could not be ignored, 'a few more of these companies operating within the country can create similar contribution to the economy as a large corporate.'
The summit aimed at achieving the African Union Commission's Africa Mining Vision that seeks to maximise the continent's resource wealth and promote the integration of Africa's mining sector, by addressing various challenges that Africa's mining sector faces moving forward.
Source : BOPA