South Africa sets $900 million annual exploration expenditure by 2025

South Africa’s Department of Minerals and Energy has set a target to attract US$900 million in exploration expenditure by 2025, in a bid to arrest a long running slide in the national mining industry.

The exploration strategy, announced earlier this week, aims to take advantage of South Africa’s comparatively advanced infrastructure and mining expertise. The ministry also seeks to diversify away from its depleting gold industry and towards new energy metals used in electric vehicles, battery storage and the production of hydrogen.

“With the declining gold resources, the appeal of the South African mining industry lies in the minerals of the future,” the department said.

South Africa has some of the world’s largest deposits of platinum group metals, vanadium, chrome and manganese, but faces challenges in the form of poor policy implementation, poor geoscientific data, insufficient electricity generation, frequent strikes and community unrest.

Among initiatives to boost exploration, the government aims to improve the data on its mineral deposits and give more technical support to small mining companies.

The ambitious $900 million target is equivalent to 5% of the annual spend on exploration globally. South African news site News24 recently reported that less than 1% of the national industry’s expenditure is spent on exploration.