CoM and DMR target out of court charter settlement

THE Chamber of Mines and the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) are negotiating the issue of ‘once empowered, always empowered’ in an attempt to reach an out of court settlement and hasten the review of a new mining charter.

Business Day reported today that government and business were also hoping to align the charter with the provisions of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Act, the codes of good practice, and the Employment Equity Act.

Citing David Msiza, acting director-general of the DMR, Business Day said that “… a process of resolving the matter has been initiated and deliberations are at an advanced stage”.

The dispute over the once-empowered, always-empowered principle has stopped government and the mining industry from agreeing on whether targets have been met in the previous mining charter 2004 to 2014.

Government says that the sector has failed to meet targets because empowerment deals that failed, or where the black-owned companies realised value cannot be counted.

The industry wants to know if it needs to perpetually renew empowerment deals in order to meet the charter’s stipulated 26% target – a discussion that has morphed into new charter discussions, especially as targets are being refreshed.

The completion of a new mining charter, as well as the promulgating of the amendments to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) were earlier this year set down as important measures of progress if South Africa was to avoid a credit rating downgrade.