Partitioned rights key in MPRDA amendment

[] – CABINET yesterday approved the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Draft Amendment Bill (MPRDA) which is expected to improve and simplify the legislative environment for mining in South Africa.

The draft legislation will now be referred to parliament where members of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources will deliberate its contents. Stakeholders in the mining industry and other interested parties will also have the opportunity to give inputs during public hearings.

The MPRDA came into being in 2004 aims to ensure South Africa’s minerals “are developed in an orderly manner, while promoting social and economic development, Cabinet said in a statement’.

The draft amendment Bill will among other things make provision for the partitioning of mineral rights, allowing for the sub-division and sale of portions of a right. It will also regulate the exploitation of associated minerals. The current Act does not allow for partitioning.

“This legislation has been expected for two years,’ Peter Leon, head of Africa mining and energy at law firm Webber Wentzel, told MiningMx. “But I guess it’s better late than never and I’m glad it’s finally happening.’

With regard to the proposed provisions to permit the partitioning of rights, Leon was cautiously optimistic. “It could be positive to allow for split rights, but it depends how exactly the legislation will deal with it.’

Mineral Resources minister Susan Shabangu earlier said the provision of partitioning would entitle holders of rights to subdivide the right and dispose of a portion of the same after following due process.’

Cabinet is positive that the amended bill will close loopholes which have led to various court actions in the past.