The Junior and Emerging Miners’ Desk, established by the Minerals Council South Africa (Minerals Council) in 2015, provides advice and support, and acts as a resource centre for smaller Minerals Council member companies. While the Minerals Council, at policy level, presents a consolidated position on key policy areas, it is sensitive to the needs of its smaller members who often lack the capacity and resources to implement policy and legislation. In addition, there are a number of other areas where smaller companies require assistance: in raising finance for projects, in some of the technical aspects of mining, such as geology and engineering, in skills development and in compliance with the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA)-associated Mining Charter, to list a few.

JUNIOR COMPANIES

The term “junior mining”, internationally, generally refers to prospecting companies only involved in the early stages of mining development. This is particularly true for Canada where junior exploration companies are supported through the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada. In Australia, junior mining usually refers to mid-tier producers. In South Africa, however, the term junior mining has taken on a wider meaning and includes, in addition to exploration companies, mid-tier producers. This is largely the result of the legislative environment, in particular the Mining Charter. Another significant difference between South Africa, Canada and Australia is the black economic empowerment (BEE) component of the regulatory environment. For this reason alone, junior and emerging mining in South Africa needs to be treated differently. Examples of junior producers operating in South Africa are Wesizwe in the platinum sector and Kuyasa in the coal sector. Orion Minerals is an example of a junior exploration company operating in the Northern Cape.

EMERGING MINERS

A term indigenous to South Africa, “emerging miners” are typically smaller BEE companies. They can be either involved in the early phases of mining exploration or in the early developmental stage. Examples include the many smaller coal companies at development stage, such as Atha and Ledjadja Coal. The term emerging miners therefore covers a diverse group of mining and mining-related entities, including prospecting and smaller producing companies, as well as associated companies such as contractors. Since the advent of the MPRDA in 2002, there has been significant growth in smaller mining companies operating in South Africa.

For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or join the Junior and Emerging Miners’ Desk LinkedIn group, which serves as a platform for discussion and information dissemination.