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'SA Mining Charter review postponement will delay transformation'

The chamber went to court seeking to prevent the implementation of the charter, which increases the minimum threshold for black ownership of mining companies to 30%, claiming there was no consultation.

FILE: Former Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane says the postponement of the Chamber of Mines application to challenge the mining charter is regrettable as it will delay transformation.

The hearings will now be heard in February next year and not next month as was previously planned.

The chamber went to court seeking to prevent the implementation of the charter, which increases the minimum threshold for black ownership of mining companies to 30%, claiming there was no consultation.

The Chamber of Mines spokesperson Charmane Russell says: “The Chamber of Mines met with the judge. The judge raised the issue of whether two days would be sufficient times for the hearing, which is a complex matter.”

The uncertainty around the matter is an added headwind deterring investment into a sector that accounts for 8% of South Africa’s economic output.

The Mining Charter is part of a wider empowerment drive in South Africa designed to rectify the disparities of apartheid that persist more than two decades since the end of white minority rule in 1994.

The Chamber of Mines has filed a court application to challenge the latest revisions, which it says were imposed by the government without consultation. It also says that many of the new rules are unaffordable for an industry grappling with depressed prices and rising costs.

About two-thirds of platinum mines in the world’s largest producer of the precious metal are not making money at current prices, according to the chamber.

Bones of contention include raising the target for black ownership to 30% from 26%.

The new rules also stipulate that mining firms must pay 1% of their annual turnover to the Mining Transformation and Development Agency, which helps black communities.