INTERFERENCE by the South African government was stopping the country’s mining sector from contributing to overcoming poverty, unemployment and inequality, according to News24 which cited a recent report by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR).
Peter Fabricius, a consultant to the IRR, authored a report about the Mining Charter published in September last year which is styled as an improvement but where the political requirement for transformation continued to trump sustainability.
“The 2018 Mining Charter measures the context of a real-world economy in which population growth has outstripped faltering economic growth for some five years, leaving unemployment at an unsustainable level of 27% or more,” said Fabricius in the report.
The report argues that it is through the business of mining – exploiting the country’s rich and largely untapped mineral resources – rather than by meeting onerous empowerment and other obligations that the sector will be capable of making a much greater contribution to growing the economy, creating jobs, and enabling South Africans to have better lives, said News24 in its interpretation of the report.
The Minerals Council South Africa said on March 27 that it had filed an application for a judicial review of the charter regarding a requirement for mining companies to re-empower themselves in the event of a mining licence renewal.
The rationale for the review – which reopens a fresh chapter of uncertainty over the country’s minerals dispensation – is essentially about a requirement in the Mining Charter that mining firms re-empower themselves in order to renew mining licences or transfer a mining right.
“This application is fully aligned with the Minerals Council’s previously stated view that most aspects of the Charter represent a reasonable and workable framework, but that the provision that the charter does not fully recognise the continuing consequences of previous empowerment transactions, particularly in respect of mining right renewals and transfers of these rights, remains untenable,” said Roger Baxter, CEO of the Minerals Council.
“Not only does this provision in particular have a severely dampening effect on the attractiveness of mining in the eyes of investors, but it is also, in our view, a breach of the declaratory order on the matter issued by the North Gauteng High Court in April.”