South Africa Plans for Potential Strategic Minerals Initiative
South Africa's mines minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi is considering declaring certain minerals such as coal and iron ore as "strategic" for the country, potentially affecting some of the industry’s leading businesses including Anglo American, Exxaro and BHP Billiton.
Under the bill, such minerals “will be sold for production costs excluding transportation”, Ramatholdi said. “That is the mine-gate price. And the industry is comfortable with that, because they negotiated that formula.
"We haven't classified any, but it is provided for under the mineral bill, which is before the president. If that bill is signed into law, then it will give the minister the ability to declare certain minerals strategic for purposes of industrialisation in South Africa," he said.
Iron ore and coal are the two main products likely to be categorised as strategic due to their importance to the continent in regards to power stations and energy initiatives.
However, Ramatlhodi dismissed reports that a forthcoming meeting between Russian and South African officials would lay the groundwork for an OPEC-style platinum cartel between the nations, which account for about 80 percent of global production of the precious metal.
He would rather see the industry and private sector find ways to support the platinum price, which recently hit five-year lows and is a major export earner, he said.
"How that is regulated I don't think should be through the law, it should be through the industry, it needs to do certain things to protect itself. They must begin to collaborate in how they operate," he said.
The price has remained low despite a five-month strike earlier this year in South Africa against the world's top three producers of the metal, Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.