South Africa can have a working cadastral system by the end of the year, says a hopeful Minerals Council South Africa chief economist Henk Langenhoven.
A minerals cadastre lists available mining or prospecting rights, properties currently under a mining or prospecting right and the expiry of currently held rights and the ownership thereof.
“The current system is a complete catastrophe,” notes Langenhoven.
“You apply on a computer screen, government takes it, prints it, and it goes from one hand to the next.
“It is not an automated system, and there is no tracking, like with a courier, for example, telling you where your parcel is in the system.
“You don’t know where you are and there is no communication back to the applicant.”
Apart from the slow pace of the process, there are also fears of interference, says Langenhoven. There have been several occasions where companies made applications with another application coming in “for exactly the same thing within a suspicious timeframe”.
Langenhoven says the new system now proposed by government is no longer bespoke, as previously mooted, but one that is already “used all over Southern Africa”.
“I think it can be done in six months, which will hopefully get exploration going again in South Africa.
“We’re hoping for a revolution, not an evolution.”
A new, working system will also serve as a viable point of entry for junior miners.
Langenhoven warns, however, that there is a backlog within the system which will create challenges for administrators.
“To install the system could take six months – training, get the staff, put the computers in and put the software in – but from there on there is such confusion about who owns what, that it will take time to sort out.
“I’m afraid it won’t only be administrative challenges either,” says Langenhoven. “Some of this will end in court in an effort to untangle everything.”
The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy noted earlier this year said that government should finish the procurement process for a new mining cadastral system by the end of the year.
This comes as the department told Parliament last year that a new system would be in place in February.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
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