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Court action to ensure Zwane acts within law - Chamber of Mines

On Tuesday, the Chamber lodged an urgent court application to prevent Zwane from suspending the issuing of new mining and prospecting rights.

FILE: Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane addresses the first day of the Mining Indaba 2016 conference in Cape Town. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – The Chamber of Mines is turning to the courts to ensure that Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane acts within the law and in the best interest of the country.

On Tuesday, the Chamber lodged an urgent court application to prevent Zwane from suspending the issuing of new mining and prospecting rights.

The minister said last week that he intended to suspend the granting of applications pending a court case to review the new Mining Charter which increases the required level of ownership of mining firms by black people.

The Chamber’s Charmaine Russel says: “The chamber then took legal advice which indicated the notice was unlawful and went to the Minister asking him to withdraw the notice.

“He hasn’t done so. So the chamber is really left with no option but to issue and serve an urgent application to the Pretoria High Court.”

GOVERNMENT SUSPENDS IMPLEMENTATION OF MINING CHARTER

Earlier this month, the government suspended the implementation of the controversial Mining Charter.

The Chamber of Mines says that the charter has been put on ice pending judgment in an urgent interdict application by the industry.

The chamber went to court earlier this month to prevent the implementation of the law which increases the minimum threshold for black ownership of mining companies to 30%.

The Chamber of Mines says that Zwane has given a written undertaking not to implement the new Mining Charter until after a court has ruled on the chamber’s application to overturn the charter.

The two sides have also agreed that the chamber’s case will now be heard in September after it was originally scheduled for 18 July.

The Chamber of Mines says that they have also agreed that if Zwane breaks the terms of this agreement, the chamber can go to court within 48 hours.

The chamber says this is a satisfactory arrangement for the industry and that their primary objective is still to make sure that the charter does not come into effect.

It criticised the charter, saying they were not consulted and that it will severely damage the industry.

The chamber says it wants to help transform the industry but that this new charter would inflict vast and systemic damage on the mining industry investors and the country itself.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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