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How to get involved in the mining industry
03 October 2017
How to get involved in the mining industry

In the startup scene, few entrepreneurs will look to the mining sector. The industry is a giant and competes on the world stage. But because South Africa is so confident in its natural reserves this sector offers ample opportunity to innovators and self-starters.

 

South Africa has rich natural reserves

The mining industry in 2016 attributed to 8 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). And the mining sector is considered to be the fifth largest mining sector, in terms of GDP, globally. South Africa has the world’s largest reserves of manganese and platinum group metals and is home to some of the biggest reserves of gold, diamonds, chromite ore and vanadium.

The gold and diamond mining industries are one of the most important foreign exchange earners for the country and gold accounts for more than one-third of the exports. South Africa can also boast enormous coal and chrome production. And, there’s still potential for more exploration in some untapped areas thought to be deposits of more precious metals and types of minerals.

 

Now tapping into this industry may feel overwhelming

You can’t just simply begin mining and most entrepreneurs would believe that setting up a mining company is a capital-intensive exercise. Of course, if you’re planning on embarking on an exhaustive exploration mission then sure you’re going to need some serious funding to cover the excessive costs. But you don’t need to do that to be involved in this sector.

 

The mining industry makes use of advanced technologies

The mining sector cannot afford to reject new technologies and advanced processes. It is too big an industry to continue with old hat methods and if mining companies don’t embrace modern technology they are likely to fail. New technologies such as data collection, cloud-based networks, wearable technologies, and drones are all types of examples of products and industries assisting the mining sector. And if your company is aligned with this type of technology then becoming involved in the mining sector is easy enough.

 

Environmental concerns are a big deal in the mining sector

Reducing energy consumption and cultivating renewable energy sources is top of mind in just about every industry. In the mining industry, in particular, running an environmentally responsible operation results in cost savings as well as benefitting the planet.

 

By employing energy efficient technologies and automating various processes which optimise energy consumption mining companies are able to enjoy major savings. According to a report by Deloitte last year, some mining companies have seen a saving of up to 40 percent in expenses. An environmentally aligned startup can tailor their offering to the mining sector and enjoy major success.

 

Health and safety services are paramount to the mining sector’s performance

In South Africa, health and safety on mines are extremely important. HIV and TB are two diseases directly affecting mineworkers in South Africa. It is such a problem that this year the government introduced a National Strategic Plan to run a course of five years so that it may reduce the mortality rates. Mining companies must make provisions for people catching these diseases and face up to what is happening amongst its workers on site. Sex education and access to family planning and medication are crucial for the mines to be considered safe and secure work. This National Strategic Plan outlines the framework for a multi-sectoral partnership to be formed. This will specifically focus on accelerating the reduction of morbidity and mortality directly associated with TB, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Furthermore, occupational health and safety cannot be more important than in the mining industry. Mining companies are held to strict guidelines and legislation that’s in place to prevent workplace fatalities and injuries.

Health and safety practice, personal protective gear, clean up operations and critical training courses are all ways of getting your foot in the door of the mining sector as a small business. As an entrepreneur, if you decide to create a company that offers training or products and services that address either the concern around HIV and TB or you offer something that aligns with occupational health and safety, you’ll find yourself quickly entrenched in a dangerous sector.  

Once you have an idea that fits in within the needs of the mining sector you will need to create a business plan. You’ll likely be able to get funding from a government grant if you are able to jump through the hoops supplied. Alternatively, you can apply for capital from the bank. Mining equipment funding is available to entrepreneurs who wish to enter the sector.

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