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SA sticks to 26% by 2014

Mineral resources
minister Susan
Pretoria — MININGREVIEW.COM — 30 June 2010 – South Africa will retain its 26 percent black ownership target for mining companies as the nation tries to increase the involvement of people who were disenfranchised by discrimination during apartheid.
“The commitment of 26% has been confirmed,” said mineral resources minister Susan Shabangu in a speech here, where the government, industry and labour unions signed a new mining strategy.

A 2004 Mining Charter required companies to sell 15% of their South African assets to black investors by the end of 2009 and 26% by 2014 to make amends for the apartheid policy that ended in 1994. The government aims to complete a review of the charter by August.

“While it’s disappointing that last year’s black ownership target was not met by all mining companies, they’re being given a second opportunity to do so,” Shabangu said.

The so-called Strategy for the Sustainable Growth and Meaningful Transformation, signed today, says black investors must be given full shareholder rights no matter how the transactions are structured. While deals should take place within the agreed timeframes, they will also take into account “prevailing market conditions,” the strategy document says.

An announcement here today confirmed that the revised plans would seek to speed up black ownership, skills development, employment equity, procurement, housing and living conditions, and mining beneficiation. The government had said in April that it would endorse a new mining charter which oversees the mining industry.

Shabangu, who unveiled the new plans, gave no reason why the charter had not been adopted and why only a strategy had been agreed with mining groups.

Shabangu said plans to raise black mine ownership had been implemented slowly both by foreign mine owners, and also black people, who were forming companies merely to profit from the programme, instead of seriously mining for metals.