The Impact of the Government Beneficiation Strategy on the Platinum Group Metals Industry in South Africa
Several resource-based developing countries have pursued industrialisation through the implementation of mineral beneficiation strategies. This study undertook to analyse and evaluate how South Africa, owing to its comparative advantages, can acquire the competitive advantages to successfully implement the Beneficiation Strategy as proposed by the Department of Minerals Resources (DMR) and to analyse the impact that the Beneficiation Strategy will have on the South African economy and Platinum Group Metals (PGM) Industry. The qualitative research incorporated both primary and secondary data sources. An extensive literature review was first conducted and used as a basis to identify the relevant factors and their relationships that affect South Africa‟s industrialisation efforts. The Fuzzy Cognitive Map incorporated the identified factors, and was used to determine the impact the Beneficiation Strategy will have on the South African economy and PGM industry. Thereafter, semi-structured individual interviews with selected respondents were conducted to support the findings of the literature review presented as a Fuzzy Cognitive Map. South Africa‟s comparative advantage is its wealth of natural mineral resources, resource-based technology and to some extent its market size. Porter‟s Diamond model revealed that South Africa‟s global competitiveness is lacking due to the challenges related to low labour skills and productivity, distance to global markets, infrastructure, corruption, and uncertainties surrounding government policies which have negatively impacted foreign direct investments. The Fuzzy Cognitive Map model has shown that forced mineral beneficiation through the implementation of export taxes on unbeneficiated minerals, super taxes on the PGM industry and restrictive stipulations attached to mining licences does not have a positive impact on the South African economy and decreases the sustainability of the PGM industry. iii Based on the Fuzzy Cognitive Map model, the impact of the Beneficiation Strategy on the South African economy and the PGM industry was positive when the high levels of corruption are reduced and the labour laws revised to be more flexible. Additionally, the Beneficiation Strategy assists in advancing the South African economy provided the development of new niche PGM markets, such as fuel cells, is the focus. Under these circumstances, South Africa‟s manufacturing competitiveness improves, leading to a higher gross domestic product (GDP), increased levels of employment and promoting industrialisation without detriment to the PGM industry. Mineral beneficiation has greater merit for some minerals, such as iron ore, but the PGM manufacturing cluster, in particular the jewellery value chain, does not contain any significant competitive advantage for the cluster to be artificially stimulated and actively pursued. The impact of the PGM Beneficiation Strategy will be minimal on the industrialisation process unless the competitiveness challenges are resolved.
MBA thesis - WBS
Beneficiation strategies , Platinum mining