Minerals licensing backlog nearly halved, Parliamentary Portfolio Committee hears

9th November 2022 By: Martin Creamer - Creamer Media Editor

Minerals licensing backlog nearly halved, Parliamentary Portfolio Committee hears

Mineral right application backlog reduced.

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The backlog of mineral licences has been cut to 2 625 outstanding applications – 43.5% down on what the situation was in March 2021, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Minerals Resources and Energy has been informed.

A thousand of the 1 500 prospecting right applications still to be processed are in the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga provinces, Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) showed in a 10-slide presentation.

Mining right and mining right renewal applications across all nine provinces total 240.

Also presented by DMRE was an elaborate elucidation on its non-functional Samrad cadastral system, along with the steps being taken to strengthen its internal capacity to manage licensing processing.

Data cleaning underway is 60% complete and a contract position for an information technology project manager is to be advertised.

Terms of reference for the new procurement are still being compiled for completion at the end of this month by a bid specification committee.

The procurement process will then be handed over to the State Information Technology Agency to advertise and finalise the procurement process by December 15.

The department also outlined why its cadastre tender invitation was withdrawn and replaced by a benchmarking exercise with other Southern African States with cadastres that process applications for exploration and mining rights.

Benchmarking with Namibia has been completed and benchmarking with Botswana is scheduled for completion by the end of this month.

As reported by Mining Weekly last month, DMRE takes 354 working days to issue a prospecting right compared with Botswana doing the same in 40 days.

Fellow African countries successfully using off-the-shelf cadastres include Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique and Zambia.

A cadastre is ideally an end-to-end solution that not only awards exploration and mining licences but also monitors regulation, tax and royalty collection, and revenue distribution.

Those entering are presented with a dashboard of  mineral rights allocated, with explorers able to monitor their obligations, make online payments, and upload work reports and production statistics. Applying for a licence involves simply clicking on ‘apply’.

A mining cadastre also supports the inspectorate divisions of the regulatory authority following up on environmental protection, health and safety.

If all goes to plan, South Africa will have a new mining cadastral system in the first quarter of next year.