THE SADC region has lost approximately 490,000 jobs in the mining industry due to depressed commodity prices on international markets, says the Mining Industry Association of Southern Africa (MIASA).

MIASA is an association of Chambers of Mines in the SADC bloc, representing mines from Zambia, Botswana, the DRC, Madagascar, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.

The association has since called on SADC governments to develop policy consistency to survive the downturn as an investment destination for mining.

In a statement, MIASA noted with concern the large scale retrenchments in the region as a consequence of depressed commodity prices on international markets.

“This means up to 5 million people have been deprived of their daily subsistence considering that each employee supports between seven to ten dependants and to  make matters worse, a further 50,000 employees face the risk of losing their jobs if something drastic is not done urgently by the governments.”

MIASA said without such cooperation between governments and the private sector, the mining industry would slide further into decline to the detriment of socio-economic growth in the region with massive job losses which were a threat to social stability.

MIASA, which is currently attending a mining symposium in Cape Town, South Africa, said governments could also create certainty by avoiding changing policy at short intervals.

It said  the SADC region was only going to be attractive for mining investment if the governments maintained consistency in policy and such called for governments to cooperate and share experiences of what works and does not.

“The symposium of African ministers on promoting Africa as a preferred investment destination for mining takes place at a time when the mining industry in the whole of the SADC region and Africa at large is experiencing headwinds of significant proportions.

“This requires governments and the private sector to be pulling in the same direction to weather the storm and mitigate the negative impacts of the current downturn,” it said.

MIASA noted that the mining industry has had no significant investment in recent years with no major exploration projects for mining.

It urged mining ministers in the region to assist the industry by reducing the level of bureaucracy and creating an environment that would make it easy for new and emerging miners to enter the industry.

The MIASA said the industry was always ready to engage with governments in the SADC region to come up with solutions that would help the industry to survive the downturn and position itself to reap mutual benefits in the next super-cycle.

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