Minister Zwane was speaking during an exclusive interview with Mining Review Africa editor, Laura Cornish, on the side lines of the Africa Under Under conference in Perth, Australia.
He acknowledged Mining Charter III has been temporarily suspended following a court interdict from the Chamber of Mines shortly after it was formerly announced to the market on 15 June 2017.
[quote]The Chamber of Mines states the requirements outlined in Mining Charter III are unrealistic and need to be reviewed.
“The new Mining Charter III may be a work in progress and my door remains open to discuss concerns, but we have also had a lot of positive feedback regarding its transformation objectives. However, it remains law and companies will have to comply – and the deadline (to increase BEE ownership to 30%) remains as is – 12 months from 15 June 2017,” states Zwane.
He also reveals that he is confused by the Chamber of Mines’ actions with regards to Mining Charter III, noting that they have not specifically outlined which areas of Charter 3 are a ‘problem’ or need to be addressed and clarified.
“They say they embrace transformation however so their objectives are not entirely clear if they cannot be more specific,” Zwane reiterates.
He adds that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has shown its full support for the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and Mining Charter III and will stand together in support of the DMR throughout court proceedings – which is set to be heard on 15 September 2017.
“What I cannot understand is why other African countries such as Namibia, Egypt, Ghana and Tanzania can take actions to transform and make provisions for greater resource allocation for their country and their people, yet in Namibia’s case for example, is still considered an investment-friendly jurisdiction?
“Our transformation requirements are not [excessive] or difficult to achieve.”
The Minister concludes noting that Mining Charter III does away with the ‘Once empowered, always empowered’ point – it will be muted following new compliance.
“We have addressed these issues and they no longer apply.”
Touching on safety in the South African mining industry, he noted that with 58 fatalities in 2017, the country and industry is not doing enough to be safe.
“There are many fatalities that could/can easily be avoided and significant improvement is still required.”
Anglo American Platinum announced a fatality at its Precious Metals Refinery on 7 September after an employee succumbed to severe chemical burns.
This effectively takes South Africa’s fatality statistic for 2017 to 59 (according to Minister Zwane’s quoted number).
Feature image credit: Mining Review Africa