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The Minerals Council South Africa’s (“MCSA”) modernisation department has – in collaboration with other key industry players – made significant efforts to strengthen South Africa’s mining innovation ecosystem and to further develop the nation’s mining-related capacities.

On behalf of MCSA, RIIS undertook a review of South African mining innovation ecosystem’s performance between 2017 and 2022. The review, which provides an international benchmarking with other prominent mining industries across the globe, sought to evaluate the mining ecosystem’s overall health in terms of ensuring longevity of the local mining industry, enabling it to drive economic development in South Africa and to facilitate the industry’s competitiveness within the global market.

The retrospective analysis marks the beginning of the MCSA’s Modernisation Partnership with RIIS in 2017 and assesses the impact that the partnership’s initiatives have had on the ecosystem. Using the International Development Innovation Alliance (IDIA)’s framework of nine goals – human capital, access to finance, support markets and infrastructure, policies and regulation, innovation culture, networking assets, equitable and inclusive participation, pathways to scale, and collective approach – the review finds that South African mining’s innovation ecosystem is underdeveloped. Despite this, there have been encouraging advancements between 2017 and 2022 with three areas in particular showing improvement. These include an innovation culture, networking assets and a collective approach.

Davis Cook, CEO at RIIS says, “In essence, innovation is about risk taking, and this requires an environment of trust. Developing and sustaining collaborative partnerships, initiatives and networks build this trust which in turn enables the sector to collectively embrace those perceived risks associated with innovation.”

The South African Mining Innovation Ecosystem Review can be accessed here.