GBR is excited to be back covering Southern Africa for the Mining in Africa Country Investment Guide (MACIG) 2021 - 2022 edition. This report is a product of over 80 interviews with industry-leading executives to provide the most recent insights and highlights of the Southern African mining industry. This year, we investigate the rise and fall and potential rise again of South Africa, the Namibian mining industry's strengths and challenges, the fourth industrial revolution in mining, the rapid energy transition, and much more. The upswing in commodity prices has allowed these African jurisdictions more opportunities, despite the global headwinds and local challenges. The region's richness in both base and precious metals, whose prices have recently been around all-time highs, has facilitated recovery and helped to withstand external pressures. The last time we were in South Africa, this regional hegemon was in the midst of a turning point for the industry: changing the mining charter and facing operational challenges due to lack of technological advancements in its century-old mines. This year, we see the South African mining industry finally making progress, with more regulatory stability and an increased adoption of modern mining techniques. Indeed, the improvement of sentiment amongst those we met was significant. Meanwhile, Namibia, which interviewees have repeatedly referred to as 'only second to Botswana', is increasingly attracting attention from juniors, but is struggling with lockdowns and the new Covid strains. Across this mineral-rich region battles against corruption persist, as do power cuts, weak infrastructure and fragile institutions that foster instability, especially when complemented with a global health crisis. However, Southern Africa continues to persevere in the face of these challenges with encouraging progress, as our research displays. We extend our gratitude to all our interviewees from governments, juniors and major producers, service-sector companies and financial institutions for taking the time to share their insights on operating in Southern Africa with us, and we hope that our publication will help towards a better understanding of the mining sector in this always-exciting region.
Image courtesy of Kumba Iron Ore