Mintek supports the SMME sector through research and development of appropriate technologies, and by providing training and support so that development can be as sustainable as possible even though based on limited resources.
The Department of Mineral Resources has been responsible for formulating policy i.e. the Mining Charter, Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act and the Precious Metal and Diamond Amendment Act. These pieces of legislation have been designed to facilitate the transformation of the South African mining\mineral industry from producers of material to a wider role of value addition to minerals.
The fundamental purpose of these pieces of legislation is to promote job creation, upliftment and empowerment of the historically marginalised; hence, the Mining Charter was founded on the following components:
- Community development
- Skills development
- Ownership and
- Employment equity.
The emerging political dispensation of South Africa has placed the needs of the poor squarely in the spotlight. Through the Mining Charter, the government has embarked on an innovative and courageous programme of including all South Africans in the mining industry through its beneficiation programme in mining initiatives. Mintek’s Small Scale Mining and Beneficiation Division was established with the aim of assisting entrepreneurs in the small scale mining sector to operate efficiently and economically, to ensure sustainability and to improve the unacceptable informal and environmentally unsound practice s that have prevailed in the small, medium and artisanal mining sector in the past. These entrepreneurs are also assisted in turning mineral waste into saleable products.
Small Scale Mining and Beneficiation Division’s contribution to the country’s second economy is manifested in its mandate viz:
- Assist Artisanal and Small Scale Miners to operate more efficiently and effectively to enable them to be economically viable and self sustaining
- Contribute towards poverty alleviation, job creation and upliftment of historically marginalised South Africans, through the exploitation of the country’s mineral wealth
- Engage local community involvement and development
- Beneficiate mineral resources into commercial products and ensure long term sustainability
- Provide training and skills development
- Bring second economy indigenous crafters and emerging jewellers into the mainstream of the precious metal jewellery industry
- Market the end product on behalf of the beneficiaries.
SSMB’s beneficiaries include existing small scale mining operators, aspirant small scale miners and crafters that use mineral and metallurgical resources as a raw material. SSMB provides support to SMME’s by conducting test work towards feasibility studies and also providing access to appropriate technologies.
The objectives of Small Scale Mining Division are addressed by a diverse division of multi-skilled professionals engaged in the different Divisional Units viz:
Our philosophy when interacting with artisanal and small scale miners (ASSMs) is to investigate ways to actively involve the local community. Examples of where this approach is being used include:
- Brick making at a waste treatment plant;
- Assistance with setting up vegetable gardens;
- Jewellery manufacturing workshops
- Ceramics and pottery workshops;
- Recovering rock from dimension stone waste dumps, and training communities to carve the rock into saleable curios and life style products.