South Africa’s cabinet approves new mining charter

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South Africa's Minister of Mineral Resources, Mosebenzi Zwane addresses members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) at the Northam Platinum's ...

CAPE TOWN – The South African cabinet has approved the latest version of the long-delayed mining charter which lay outs requirements for black ownership levels and other targets, a cabinet minister said on Thursday.

Mine workers employed at Sibanye Gold’s Masimthembe shaft operate a drill in Westonaria, South Africa, April 3, 2017. Picture taken April 3, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo

Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane told reporters that more details about the charter would be announced on Friday by President Cyril Ramaphosa when he unveils a new economic stimulus package.

The mining charter could still be the subject of legal challenges from the mining industry, if companies are unhappy with its contents after it is published.

“The mining charter was deliberated upon and indeed cabinet has approved the mining charter,” Mokonyane told a news conference.

Analysts say policy certainty in the mining sector could lead to billions of dollars of new investment, in a boost for Ramaphosa’s drive to kick-start economic growth.

Separately, mines minister Gwede Mantashe had withdrawn the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment (MPRDA) bill, a draft law which was also the subject of hot debate within the industry, Mokonyane added.

The MPRDA amendments were initially passed by parliament four years ago but were then sent back to lawmakers by former president Jacob Zuma in 2015 due to concerns over whether they were constitutional.

The bill had planned to give wide-ranging powers to the mines minister, including requiring a portion of extracted resources to be processed domestically and not be exported in raw form.

It would have also allowed the minister to declare minerals strategic and aimed to give the state a 20 percent minority stake in new gas and oil exploration and production ventures, which the industry had said would discourage investment. – Reuters Africa

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