Minister of
mineral resources
Susan Shabangu
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 13 April 2011 – Minister of mineral resources Susan Shabangu has announced the launch the Department of Mineral Resources online mineral rights application system, which is being implemented next week in an effort to ensure transparency and to end administrative blunders.

Reporting this development here, Reuters said a series of scandals last year and disputes over rights upset many companies operating in the country, denting confidence in a sector vital to South Africa’s economy.

“The new South African Mineral Resources Administration online system for prospecting rights, mining permits and mining rights will go live on 18 April,” the department said on its website.

It added that all applications must be submitted electronically.

The mining ministry imposed a six-month halt on new prospecting bids last year to overhaul mining laws, iron out irregularities in the way rights are awarded, and audit existing exploration and drilling contracts. Analysts said it remained to be seen whether the online system would boost investors’ trust in the process of awarding prospecting and mining rights.

“The main issue here from investors is more about trust than the procedure. It sounds very good, but let’s see what is going to happen,” said Efficient Group chief economist Dawie Roodt.

Sasha Naryshkine, a mining analyst at Johannesburg-based Vestact, said the submission process in electronic form made sense for transparency, but the awarding process was more significant.

“It is the award part that is more important and it would be interesting to find out if the awarding process has changed as well. What does the process look like on the other side?” Naryshkine asked.

A spokeswoman for the department, Zingaphi Jakuja, said mining minister Susan Shabangu will brief the media on Monday. Shabangu said in February that the online system would prevent different companies from being granted the same rights and stop licences from being handed out to areas deemed environmentally sensitive.