The Chamber of Mines notes that new mining right or prospecting right applications submitted by mining companies after 19 July 2017 will not be processed by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR).
In essence, the DMR is implementing the DMR minister’s proposed moratorium on new applications in terms of section 49 of the MPRDA despite the closing date for comments on the proposal only being on 4 August 2017.
This moratorium will effectively freeze investment, prevent many companies from restructuring and may lead to even more job losses in the sector.
It flies in the face of the calls by the industry’s trade unions for the moratorium proposal to be withdrawn and in terms of the Chamber of Mine’s urgent court interdict application to have the notice and proposed moratorium stopped from being implemented and thereafter reviewed and set-aside.
The Chamber of Mines is adamant this demonstrates the DMR leadership’s disregard for the crisis facing the mining sector and the negative implications that a moratorium may have on the viability of struggling mining companies and the jobs that could be lost as a direct consequence.
At this time of crisis, the mining companies require the flexibility to restructure for survival.
The Chamber of Mines also states the actions of the DMR minister, first with the unilateral development and release of the Reviewed Mining Charter on 15 June 2017 and now with the implementation of this moratorium, shows scant regard for the viability of the mining sector, sustaining employment and the national interest.
Minister Mosebenzi Zwane should withdraw the notice and not apply any moratorium.
The Chamber of Mine’s urgent interdict application to prohibit the minister from implementing the moratorium will be heard in the High Court on 4 August 2017.
The DMR has responded to this by stating that no decision has been taken by the Minister of Mineral Resources to implement the moratorium.
“The statement issued by the Chamber of Mines is therefore misinformed.”
“The notice gazetted by the Minister of Mineral Resources on 19 July 2017 calls for all relevant stakeholders to make representations to the minister on the implications of and modalities surrounding the wording of the moratorium, if one is deemed necessary and appropriate after having received any and all such written submissions.
“The minister will then be in a position to make an informed decision, taking into account the needs and interests of all South Africans.
“The DMR will receive written submissions until tomorrow, the 4th of August 2017.
“The minister continues to appeal to stakeholders to engage directly with him on such important matters relating to the industry, and not rely on rumours, which only create confusion,” concludes the DMR.
Feature image credit: Lonmin