INVESTORS AND MEDIA Media releases
Johannesburg, 22 July 2020: Gold Fields Limited (Gold Fields) (JSE, NYSE: GFI) welcomes the accelerated economic recovery strategy aimed at achieving higher levels of economic growth post Covid-19, published by Business for South Africa (B4SA) last week.
A number of key priority areas for the mining sector have been identified by the Minerals Council South Africa and B4SA in the wake of the sector’s 10% economic decline over the past decade.
These include the critical need to improve the country’s competitiveness and ease of doing business; significant structural economic and institutional reforms; regulatory reform; addressing crime and corruption; infrastructure investment; restructuring of state-owned enterprises (SOEs); unlocking private sector investment in infrastructure; energy liberalisation; supporting Black Economic Empowerment (BEE); and investing for modernisation and competitiveness.
However, while these key areas need to be urgently addressed to ensure economic recovery, and ultimately save and create jobs in mining, the emphasis will be on the SA government to provide the economic leadership in a social and economic compact with business and organised labour.
“The government’s economic narrative is generally sound, but we have been here before and not made the requisite progress. If you take a look at the key areas holding back economic growth and investment in South Africa, they require tough choices to institute structural and economic reforms,” says Nick Holland, Gold Fields CEO.
He lists these areas as:
“Regulatory and policy uncertainties undermine competitiveness and investor confidence not just in mining but in the economy as a whole. The mining sector, with high capital requirements, long lead times and price volatility, can be thrown off course by onerous and uncertain regulations, such as the frequent alterations to the Mining Charter,” comments Holland.
“This sector requires stable and consistent regulations and laws that are evenly applied so that it has the means to recover from and assist governments when crises, such as the current Covid-19 pandemic, strike,” he adds. “Once a sound regulatory framework has been established, it is our responsibility to run our business so it creates value for all our stakeholders.”
Holland says that the Covid-19 pandemic has served as a catalyst in bringing together sections of society which don’t normally co-operate that easily. “The Minerals Council has had constructive engagements with the Minister on helping the sector through the Covid-19 crisis, and looking at how to revive the mining sector post Covid-19. And in gold mining, we have found ourselves working far more co-operatively with our key stakeholders – trade unions, our communities, industry peers and government – than we have done before,” he says.
“The Covid-19 crisis has galvanised us in speeding up some changes in the industry, which should have been started years ago. Let’s build on this experience for our mutual benefit,” Holland adds.