DMR confirms mining charter redraft “still being finalised”

A WIDELY anticipated re-draft of the mining charter was still being finalised, according to the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) which indicated today the document’s gazetting was unlikely to meet its self-imposed March deadline.

Although not stating when amendments to the charter would be made public, the DMR said it was “… currently in the process of being finalised” following extensive consultations with stakeholders and the Cabinet.

“The draft reviewed Charter was gazetted in April 2016 for public comment,” the DMR said. “An announcement will be made once the final Charter is gazetted,” it added.

Mines minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, said in February he intended to gazette changes to the mining charter in March which gives him a day to conclude the process.

The Chamber of Mines has not seen the document since certain proposed amendments were made public last year in Parliament. An industry source said there had been consultations with the DMR, but no specific agreements.

A sense of where the details of the charter may land was given some airing by the DMR when it said Zwane, was empowered to develop the charter “… with targets and timelines to ensure compliance” with the end goal being “transformation of the industry”.

A major industry objection to the new charter is that the South African mining sector would face additional levies and taxes of R2bn to R3bn a year whilst R2bn already contributed by it for human resource development will be diverted into a new tax collection entity.

Miningmx reported on February 27 that the chamber will turn to the courts again should the DMR record the current draft of the mining charter in the government gazette.

“While our preference is to engage on key issues with Government to achieve practical workable outcomes, as with any issue, the courts remain an option to the Chamber and its members,” said Roger Baxter, CEO of the Chamber of Mines.

Whilst Baxter was not specific on the court action to which it may turn, it is thought the Chamber could interdict the charter. While this would not stop it being gazetted, it would be possible to set it aside.

Hulme Scholes, an attorney for MalanScholes, has also said he would take legal action to block the charter especially as the High Court is deliberating over his application to have the mining charter judged void.