PERTH (miningweekly.com) – South Africa’s Mineral Resource Minister Mosebenzi Zwane on Thursday stuck to his guns about the introduction of the much-maligned Mining Charter Three, telling a mining conference audience in Perth that it was the prerogative of the government to ensure policy and regulatory certainty.
Zwane said at the fifteenth yearly Africa Downunder conference that the Mining Charter was the culmination of “over a year of engagement and consultation with stakeholders”.
“Beyond consultation, the development of policy is the responsibility of government, and we will continue to exercise this responsibility with due consideration,” he said.
The South African Chamber of Mines (CoM) has been the biggest opponent to the new Mining Charter, initiating legal action in the South African High Court in a bid to prevent the enactment of the charter.
The CoM believed that the reviewed charter would cause irreparable damage to the mining industry, destroying investment in the sector and leading to further job losses, while benefiting only a select few.
The CoM also believes that there was insufficient consultation with the industry prior to the gazetting of the new updated charter.
Speaking to Mining Weekly Online on the sidelines of the conference, Zwane said that the government was confident that it had “taken everyone’s interest to heart” in coming up with the Mining Charter, despite obvious opposition from the CoM.
“We should move beyond the point of the CoM saying that they were not consulted, to where they point out the problems in the Mining Charter, so we can resolve them,” Zwane said.
“I would love for them to point out in terms of their understanding, what they would have changed if they had been consulted.
“From where we are standing, we have proven that we have consulted them, but I think we must move beyond that point. They must say, in the whole mining charter, these are the problematic areas, so that we can begin talking.”
The case will be heard in the High Court on September 14, with Zwane saying that the government would formulate its response after the fact.
“Whatever the court says, we will abide by,” he added.
Zwane in June announced details of the updated Mining Charter, which stipulates that local mines should be at least 30% black-owned, up from the previous requirement of 26%. In addition, mines are to cede 1% of their yearly turnover to their black economic partners.