JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The Chamber of Mines (CoM) has issued an urgent application to the High Court of South Africa requesting that the court prevent the implementation of the Reviewed Mining Charter, which was published by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) on Thursday.
The application, issued on Monday, notes that the CoM and its members are fully committed to the transformational objectives of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) but that the chamber is opposed to the new Mining Charter.
The chamber claims that the charter “attempts to subvert those objectives by the unlawful publication of instruments, which purport to give effect to such objectives but, in fact, undermine them”.
The CoM further notes that, should the DMR’s charter be implemented in its current form, it will “destroy the very industry whose survival is necessary to give effect to the objects of the MPRDA”.
The application also argues that the publication of the 2017 charter goes beyond the powers of Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and that, in publishing the 2017 charter, the Minister has purported to exercise powers that reside exclusively with Parliament, “which he has sought to usurp”.
“[The Charter is] so confusing and confused, and so contradictory in its core provisions, that not only are the mining companies who are supposedly obliged to comply with the 2017 Charter perplexed as to what they are required to do, but legal experts themselves are confused and find themselves unable to provide clear advice to their mining and investment clients as to the meaning and effect of the 2017 Charter,” says the CoM.
The chamber says that the act of publication was and is harmful, not only because of the content of the 2017 charter, as well as the vague and contradictory language employed to convey that content, but also because of the clear threat to the separation of powers which that act presents.
“The vast and systemic damage which the publication and threatened enforcement of the 2017 Charter has and continues to inflict upon the financial and reputational interests of not only the Chamber’s members, their employees and investors but also the country as a whole, requires . . . urgent redress.”