SA Govt. yet to progress new minerals cadastre

SOUTH Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources & Energy (DMRE) is yet to sign a service level agreement with PGM Consortium, its preferred bidder for a new automated mining cadastre, said BusinessLive.

Citing Errol Smart, CEO and MD of junior miner Orion, the newspaper questioned the commitment of government to the new system which is needed to improve transparency and efficiency for mining and exploration right applications.

“For two years, the minister has been telling us we are getting a cadastral system. In January, after a very long process, they announced who won the tender process,” Smart told a webiner convened by the Minerals Council South Africa on Friday.

“We are now four months later. The last I heard is that the people who have been appointed still don’t have the terms of reference,” said Smart. “The SLA is not in place yet. How seriously are we taking this? Whoever is working on the mining cadastral is an opaque silo. Nobody knows what is happening there.”

The PGM Consortium comprises GeoTech Systems, MITS Institute and Gemini GIS & Environmental Services.

The department replied that work was “at an advanced stage”, said BusinessLive. “The SLA is planned to be signed within the next week,” it said.

Smart said one of the biggest exploration hurdles was access to land due to private ownership. “It takes you four to five years to get a prospecting right.

“And you get on the property to start exploring and the farmer says ‘no, you’re not going to come here until you pay me an extortionate amount of money’. Since the 1980s there has hardly been real exploration in South Africa.”