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Last week saw the long-awaited draft Mining Charter released for public comments. According to Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe, this version of the Mining Charter will ensure that mineworkers and mining communities reap the benefits of mining companies' operations, while shielding companies from unnecessary volatility.

New draft Mining Charter released for public commentsBroad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) objectives and conditions will remain part of mining license rights, with the draft Charter making provision for the “once-empowered, always empowered” principle, but increasing the B-BBEE ownership requirement to 30%. Mining rights would have 30 years secured for the holder via a stabilisation clause, and at least 50% of directors and 50% of top management must be black. At least 70% of the mining-goods procurement budget must be spent on South African manufactured goods, with a 60% local-content value. At least 80% of the money spent on services must be to South African companies.

The draft Charter requires new mining right holders to pay 1% of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to employees and communities, a change from the previous draft which required companies to pay at least 1% of annual revenue to black shareholders. These stipulations will “create conditions which will incentivise transformation without needlessly penalising companies for incidences that affect their transformation shareholding,” the Department of Mineral Resources said.

The Minerals Council South Africa (MCSA), formerly known as the Chamber of Mines, has said that there are still elements of the draft Mining Charter that undermine the competitiveness of the mining industry, and is not satisfied with the new draft as it stands. Spokesperson Charmane Russell says they are not opposed to giving back to workers, but they’re concerned about the impact on competitiveness for mining companies.

“Without competitiveness, investment in mining will be limited and the current mining sector will continue to decline to the detriment of all citizens,” she told the media. “The Minerals Council urges the Department of Mineral Resources and other stakeholders to take on board the significant need to improve competitiveness in the industry to ensure investment and growth.”

The public has until 27 July to provide comment on the draft Mining Charter. Once the draft has been finalised, it will be subjected to Government’s Socio-Economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS) to assess the likely impact of the Charter on the economy and society in general. It will then be submitted to Cabinet for approval. Once all these processes have been completed, the final Mining Charter will be gazetted for implementation.

Image Credit Flickr/GovernmentZA:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/governmentza/40022701675

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