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'Amendment Bill will optimise mining'

The minister tackles concerns on proposed changes to mining legislation.

The 2014 Mining Indaba at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 4 February 2014. Picture: Rahima Essop/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu has tried to allay concerns about proposed changes to legislation governing the mining industry during her address to the Mining Indaba this morning.

The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill has drawn criticism from lawyers and mining executives for, among other things, increased ministerial discretion.

Shabangu says proposed changes to the act won't create an uncertain regulatory regime.

On the contrary, she says the amendment bill seeks to, among other things, make it easier to do business with the sector.

"The bill seeks to optimise mining, minerals and upstream petroleum development in South Africa;"

The minister adds the continued exporting of unprocessed minerals denies the country the possibility for increased skills development.

"The provision enables the game changing of a win-win value proposition for local processing of minerals."

She says government has consulted extensively on the bill.

AMPLATS RESTRUCTURING

Meanwhile, executive director of Anglo American in South Africa says they are starting to see returns from the restructuring of the company's platinum operations.

The country's platinum sector is currently faced with a potentially crippling strike.

Anglo American South Africa's Khanyisile Kweyama says their restructuring plan put the company's relationship with government and labour at stake when first announced last year.

She says it was not a popular decision, but it had to be done.

"We are seeing the results in that now, because we took the plunge and said that in order to get to this point we have to cut costs. Because we did that, we are starting to see the returns. We know those businesses will get back to profitability."

The strike, which began at Anglo American Platinum in recent weeks, is once again affecting production.

But looking forward Kweyama does not foresee any immediate job cuts.

Delegates start arriving at the 2014 Mining Indaba in Cape Town International Convention Centre on 4 February 2014. Picture: Rahima Essop/EWN.

For a special feature on this year's Mining Indaba click here.