Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe said on Thursday that the country has a backlog of about eight years in issuing of mining rights as proper processing of applications for mining licences has stalled over the years.
"A preliminary internal investigation shows that the backlog on new mineral right applications stretches as far back as 2012; while applications for renewal of prospecting right applications go as far back as 2010," Mantashe said.
"The implication of unprocessed renewal applications is that it blocks any other party from applying for a mining right in that area. We are putting measures in place to overcome this hurdle, to ensure that prospectors can prospect, and those with the legal permits and the means to mine can do so."
Mantashe was speaking during the debate vote of his department at the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) in Parliament on Thursday, adding that an audit of all applications, permits and mining rights was among various considerations to deal with the backlog.