Mining sector vital to S. Africa's economy: minister

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JOHANNESBURG, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- Despite various problems facing South Africa's mining industry, the sector remains significant to the economy and would continue playing a big role, said Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe on Thursday.

He made the remarks while delivering his address at the 2019 Joburg indaba annual mining conference.

"I believe in this industry, I see it as a key contribution to the country's economy, youth development and women's empowerment. Mining remains important to South Africa's economy," he told delegates.

The Minerals Council of South Africa which represents mining companies has spoken frankly about the impact of electricity tariffs on the sector and how it contributes to job losses.

Mantashe admitted that energy costs should be reduced.

"Reducing electricity consumption is not positive for the country. We need to think about how we reignite our economy and energy security is critical to this," he said.

Speaking about the decline that the sector has been experiencing, Mantashe said the five months gold sector strike which began in December, manufacturing and price of electricity have been contributing factors to this. Despite these, mining was still key.

"We are a very important sector, we are here to stay. If one commodity or mineral is in trouble, it doesn't mean the mining industry is in trouble," the minister said.

The two-day mining indaba brings investors, business, government and labor to discuss issues facing the sector and propose solutions. Enditem

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