A bullish Zwane sets us wondering; who’ll be the Mining Charter’s chief beneficiaries?

How much to give up without government simply turning, Mugabe-like, to heavy-handed expropriation tactics must be exercising the minds of mine owners as the revised Mining Charter, (the regulatory tool governing transformation in the sector), is about to be gazetted. It’s clear Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane wants no truck with the courts which the mine bosses usually turn to when they feel they’re unfairly backed up against a wall. However, a hidden door must have appeared behind them in recent weeks as they suspended a court bid to get a declaratory order on the ownership issue in the mining charter. Which is probably why Zwane is being so bullish on the side-lines of the Mining Indaba, currently drawing to a close in Cape Town. While offering the usual olive branch of negotiation with all stakeholders (prior to gazetting next month), he’s drawing a firm line in the sand by saying this is the domain of government, not the courts. Courts don’t make policy, (though when it’s unconstitutional, they can order it amended). The party elected by the majority can decide on how to achieve equity in obtaining fairer access to our mineral wealth. It’s an age old ideological battle. Declaring certain minerals like coal and uranium, ‘strategic resources,’ with all the attendant State regulations governing their use, seems to make domestic sense. But just how the unimaginable wealth from the other minerals will be apportioned and to whom in the name of transformation, creates a fascinating plot worth following every inch of the way. – Chris Bateman

By Liesl Peyper

Cape Town – Government will not allow itself to be threatened by players in the mining industry who run to the courts if they don’t get their way, the mineral resources ministry said on Monday.

Mosebenzi Zwane, South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Speaking at a media conference on the sidelines of the 2017 Mining Indaba, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and his deputy Godfrey Oliphant were adamant that government has a transformation agenda that needs to be implemented as a matter of urgency and that it cannot be delayed by industry players who are unhappy with among other things the stipulations in the mining charter.

During his address earlier, Zwane said government will gazette the final version of the charter in March this year, having conducted lengthy engagements with stakeholders.

He pointed out though that the Chamber of Mines is not the only stakeholder in the consultation process. “There are 60 altogether and they’re happy (with the charter),” Zwane said.

“We want to put it clearly, although we’re consulting with stakeholders at the end of the day government will take a decision and then gazette (the charter). That’s what we’re going to do.”

Asked about the Chamber of Mines’ suspended court bid to get a declaratory order on the ownership issue in the mining charter, Zwane said the courts should never take the place of government.

Earlier on Monday, Chamber of Mines CEO Roger Baxter said the court process has been suspended due to consultations with the Department of Mineral Resources – specifically on the ownership issue.

Also read: Anthea Jeffery: Time to take Mining Charter from BEE to EED

Zwane emphasised that as a department issues with stakeholders should be resolved amicably. “We don’t want people to adhere to a norm where they take us to court if they don’t agree with us.

“We’re determined to reach our objectives,” Zwane added. “If we believe we’re correct no one should threaten us. We’re here to govern and we’ll do exactly that.”

Zwane said his ministry will listen to the mining sector’s views. “But they can’t have everything going their own way. Where it made sense we listened. But we’ll move with the majority (of stakeholders that were consulted).”

Asked about the Department of Mineral Resources’ intention to declare certain minerals strategic for purposes of beneficiation, Oliphant said coal and uranium will definitely be on the list.

“Much of our energy generation comes from coal and we’ll require uranium for nuclear energy generation,” Oliphant said.

He also mentioned that platinum could be designated for fuel cell manufacturing. – Fin24

Source: http://www.fin24.com/Special-Reports/Mining-Indaba-2017/zwane-govt-wont-be-bullied-by-mine-sector-20170206

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