Mining minister
Susan Shabangu
 
Cape Town, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 04 February 2010 – Mining minister Susan Shabangu says the Department of Mineral Resources is committed to shortening the process of approving mining licences.

“An overhaul of the administrative process to issue mining and prospecting rights is among the priorities for my department,” she told the Mining Indaba here. “Other priorities are the tabling of a mineral beneficiation strategy in parliament, as well as dealing with health and safety at mines and the skills shortage.”

Shabangu revealed that the time to grant prospecting rights would be shortened to three months from the current six, and mining rights would be processed within six months, instead of the usual 12 months.

Business Report quotes Iraj Abedian, an analyst at Pan African Resources, as saying the proposed changes would put South Africa on a par with the rest of the world, and even set an example.

Coal of Africa chief operating officer Riaan van der Merwe said the announcement was heartening, and his company would participate in the process and provide assistance where it could.

Shabangu said the beneficiation strategy would be tabled in cabinet during the first quarter. “The objective would be to use the strategic role of our mining sector to maximise both downstream and sidestream beneficiation opportunities with a view to ensuring job creation and growth promotion,” she added.

Administrative efficiency would also be addressed to create transparency and root out any prospect of corruption. The department would also amend the Mine Health and Safety Amendment Act to reduce the high levels of injuries, ill health and fatalities.

Shabangu also revealed that a development plan offering bursaries and internal training would be implemented to address the severe shortage of mining engineers, technicians and inspectors.