During his address to the National Council of Provinces yesterday DMR Minister, Gwede Mantashe, stated that funding for the department and its portfolio of entities is inadequate.
The South African Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has been allocated R1,9 billion for the 2018/19 financial year.
“The funding allocated to the Department and its portfolio of entities remains inadequate, for us to effectively carry out our mandate,” Mantashe told the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
“This anomaly must be addressed so that we are better able to be a catalyst for the growth and development of the economy. We are mindful of the fiscal constraints the country faces and will, therefore, strive to deliver with the limited resources at our disposal,” he continued.
A substantial amount of DMR’s work happens in provinces where South Africans interface directly with the DMR through its regional offices.
“We will soon host a Summit to present the draft Mining Charter before it is taken through the relevant Cabinet processes and gazetted,” explained Mantashe.
The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill (MPRDA) has been tabled before the NCOP for processing.
“I appeal to Members of NCOP to assist in prioritising the finalisation of this Bill. This is important because, together with the gazetting of the Mining Charter, enacting it will go a long way to contributing to policy and regulatory certainty. Such certainty will lead to increased confidence in our mining sector, resulting in the growth, transformation and competitiveness. Therefore, making South Africa an investment destination of choice for mining and upstream petroleum,” highlighted Mantashe.
Illegal mining poses many dangers to society, in terms of health and safety, infrastructure damage as well as costs to the industry and economy.
“It robs Government and the people of South Africans of the benefits from taxes and royalties,” cautioned Mantashe.
“Coupled with the challenge of illegal mining is the matter of synthetics that is threatening the diamond sector. Calls have been made at the Pan African level for countries in the continent to propose and implement means to curb this threat. We are engaging the diamond industry on this matter,” he added.
“Further, there is progress made through work with provincial and local government, as well as law enforcement agencies, to deal with illegal mining. In Sekhukhune, this collaboration has led to successful arrests.
“In the Northern Cape, the Department has been engaging with artisanal miners to legalise their operations. On 30 April 2018 they received their mining permits. They will now sell their diamonds in the open market, free from unscrupulous diamond buyers,” explained Mantashe.
“As we explore ways to regulate artisanal mining as means to enable ordinary South Africans participate in mining, we intend having discussions with the Minister of Police on strengthening approaches to dealing with the scourge of illegal mining.”