Regional Workshop on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and the Development of Extractive Industries
The adhoc Regional Workshop on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and the Development of Extractive Industries was held on 10-11 December 2009 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The workshop was hosted by South Africa’s national mineral research organisation, Mintek.
Small scale mining in SADC is widespread. It is a rapidly expanding sub-sector projected to grow further as a result of pressures from large mine closures, diminishing employment opportunities as a result of the current economic crisis, population pressures and declining agricultural yields. A diversity of minerals is mined on a small scale in SADC and different minerals pose different mining challenges. Nevertheless, small scale miners share a number of common constraints including severe undercapitalisation which hampers efficiency and productivity, lack of access to markets, lack of appropriate skills and inadequate institutional support. Although availability of data on the subsector is less than satisfactory, it is known that despite the many challenges the sub-sector faces, it still makes a sizeable contribution to SADC mining output and has significant participation by women.