Why beneficiate South African precious and non-precious metals? South Africa’s world-class gold mining industry has dominated the world’s gold mining sector for 120 years and employs 200,000 people. While South Africa has been the longest producer of gold, it has exported its raw materials abroad, where the value extraction process has traditionally taken place. The majority of the value that is extracted occurs once the ore has been developed into highly concentrated products and sold to the consumer.
As it stands, South Africa as most developing countries is enmeshed in a pattern of economic behaviour that contributes to keeping it poor; selling unprocessed goods to richer markets and allowing their buyers to add massive “value” by, finishing, packaging and branding and retailing to the end consumer. Mineral beneficiation has been identified as one of the key sectors in the Government’s New Growth Path (NGP) strategy for creating five million jobs by 2020. In 2010, the gross revenue from sales of all minerals in South Africa amounted to R227 billion.
Similarly, just over R80 billion was generated from processing base precious and other minerals. The beneficiation of minerals to finished consumer goods has the potential to increase revenue, significantly improve the capacity and skills of South Africa and the rest of Africa and can lead us to create and sell finished brands. It is here that South Africa can export branded rather unbranded products. As a developing country, we could especially benefit from a movement towards global brand export, as this is part of sustainable wealth creation behaviour which could ultimately help South Africa escape the poverty cycle.
In today’s global market, a powerful brand is just about the only remaining competitive advantage a company or a nation can posses. Through beneficiation, South Africa has the opportunity to create a very powerful, international brand powerhouse. The time has come for House of Mandela African Royal Mint to exploit the rich minerals from Africa’s womb to the world and manufacture Africa-inspired products with the Beauty, Strength and Freedom of the warmth of Africa.