Gary Gray keeps post at Rudd's insistence

FEDERAL Resources Minister Gary Gray reportedly offered to resign from his post, but will stay on after the insistence of new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Mr Gray took the position after his predecessor Martin Ferguson left the role after admitting to then PM Julia Gillard that he was a supporter of Rudd.

Mr Ferguson has since announced he would not contest the next election.

On top of his offer of a resignation, Mr Gray also offered apologies on Thursday after wrongly telling a Minerals Council of Australia event that Nelson Mandela had died.

Mr Gray was speaking to the Minerals Week event in place of the Prime Minister, when he made the comments.

Overnight, reports have suggested the former South African president and civil rights icon has now been placed on life support as he battles an ongoing lung infection.

Mr Gray said he was "deeply sorry" about passing on the incorrect information.

"I apologise unreservedly and am deeply sorry to have relayed what I thought was reliable advice," he said on Thursday.

The Minister also passed on his apology to the South African High Commissioner.