One of the limitations of the mining sector is the incapability to add more value to the mineral ore that it produces. And to address this challenge, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) has unveiled a R100 million Gold Loan Scheme to assist emerging and established gold jewellery manufacturers with their working capital loans and needs.
Addressing stakeholders at the launch recently, Minister Davies said the scheme was originally identified in the Industrial Policy Action Plan to provide a facility production for gold manufacturers to access favourable loans and terms used in the jewellery production. He added that the intervention of R100 million would allow South African jewellers to grow, and be able to supply local retail sector and the export markets.
“The latest figures indicate that there are about 1000 jewellery manufacturers left in the country and that production is down to 3500 kilograms per annum from 7500 kilograms in 2004,” said Davies.
Davies also said the jewellery sector experienced imports exceeding R1 billion in 2013 while exports were sitting at R467 million in the same year. This is a contrast from imports of R280 million and exports of R466 million recorded in 2004. The Gold Loan Scheme will assist local manufacturers recapture a big local market which is currently served by imported products as well as increasing exports to destinations such as the United States of America where our jewellery can enter duty-free under AGOA and other markets.
“The new scheme is one of the many programmes that are used as interventions to support and grow the jewellery sector. the dti through numerous schemes has provided support to more than 60 emerging and established jewellery manufacturers in a number of global exhibitions and will continue to provide such support,” added Davies.
The working capital loans under the scheme are provided at a fixed interest rate of 3% per annum.