S.Africa urged to boost training, electricity supply

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The Chamber of Mines of South Africa said on Thursday that the government should improve the electricity supply and training for workers, as the ruling party mulls plans to encourage more metals processing.

South Africa's government wants more of the country's mineral wealth to undergo processing locally, known as beneficiation, as a way to generate jobs and grow the economy.

The ruling African National Congress is reportedly considering changes to the export tax regime to encourage companies to process metals locally before selling them abroad.

"We don't know ourselves how accurate it is and what are exactly the recommendations" in the documents before the ANC, said Chamber of Mines official Frans Barker.

"But if it is to promote the beneficiations, then we would obviously suggest the constraints should be addressed, like electricity shortages, skilled workers and there is some problems of transport," he said.

South Africa has already embarked on a multi-billion-dollar building spree for new power plants that will double the electricity supply over the next 20 years.

Africa's largest economy was built on its mining success. Today the sector accounts for eight percent the economy and half of exports.

© 2011 AFP

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