The South African Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement officially establishing the Junior Mining Exploration Fund.

The establishment of this fund forms part of South Africa’s mineral exploration strategy. The main objective of the fund is to enable eligible South African junior mining enterprises to access funding so they can conduct prospecting work; increase access to mine ore bodies; and promote economic inclusion to support equitable economic growth.

The main qualifying criteria requires applicants to comply with the South African mining regulatory requirements, including but not limited to the provisions of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, the National Environmental Management Act, and the National Water Act.

“We can’t overstate the significance of this industry to our economy. Mining is not only the backbone of our economy but is the largest employing sector in this country. Our exposure has informed us of the many challenges facing emerging black-owned mining companies that are looking for a foothold into this sector. Exploration costs can be onerous on small mining firms and, therefore, it is our hope that the fund will help alleviate the challenges facing junior mining companies,” says IDC chief operations officer, Joanne Bate.

The fund will be administered and managed by the IDC while the DMRE, supported by the Council for Geoscience, will determine the minerals whose exploration can be funded through this initiative.

The DMRE and the IDC are still finalising modalities as to when the first application window calling for qualifying companies to submit applications for consideration will be made.

Image credit: master1305/Freepik

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