The South African Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator (SADPMR) has embarked on a project that trains historically disadvantaged people to start businesses in the jewellery fabrication industry.
“In the Free State, the SADPMR has embarked on a project to support the Virginia Jewellery School in bringing economic revitalization to the Free State, thereby helping to reduce poverty and unemployment in the area,” Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe said.
Addressing the National Council of Provinces on Thursday, he said the State Diamond Trader continues to prioritise youth skills development within the jewellery fabrication industry.
“The entity partnered with the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) through an agreement to facilitate and implement an Exit Training Programme for Jewellery Designers and Watchmakers who were sent to Italy for training in their respective fields. The trainees originate from all nine provinces,” the Minister said.
Through the entity’s Enterprise Development Programme, the State Diamond Trader ensures that there is a constant stream of new young black diamond entrepreneurs entering the sector.
“By the end of December 2017, the programme had seven groups with 27 trainees originating from all nine provinces. One of the trainees was released from the programme as she now has an operational diamond cutting and polishing factory. She is now a client of the State Diamond Trader and qualifies to buy rough diamond from the entity,” the Minister said.
He said the geomapping exercise that is being undertaken by the Council for Geoscience (CGS) is expected to have multiple benefits.
They include prospects for new mineral development, identifying new ground water sources, delineating possible renewable energy sources in a form of geothermal energy, as well as land for infrastructure and agricultural development.
“Work continues by the CGS and Petroleum Agency SA in Beaufort West in the Western Cape on the shale gas project,” the Minister said.
He said the research, which commenced with a baseline study being conducted is now ready for the next phase, which is the deep drilling of boreholes.
“The drilling process for monitoring wells and deep borehole well for the environmental baseline has commenced. Through this process, CGS has already managed to secure water resources for the drought-stricken Beaufort West community, and 34 million litres of water have been availed to meet the community’s minimum requirements,” the Minister said.
The Department of Mineral Resources will soon host a Summit to present the draft Charter before it is taken through the relevant Cabinet processes and gazetted.
The department recently concluded its country-wide community consultations on the Mining Charter.
“During these visits, we also received inputs on the department and how our stakeholders think we can better serve them.
“The issues raised in this regard are receiving the necessary attention and form part of our programme of action. We are committed to engage more with the key stakeholders we serve, that is, communities, mining companies and mineworkers,” he said