Pretoria, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 13 September 2010 – Whites still dominate the South African mining industry, and changes to include more blacks in the sector are slow despite a decade of affirmative action, says mineral resources minister Susan Shabangu.
Releasing the country’s long-awaited new mining charter here, Shabangu said only 8.9% of mines were owned by blacks in 2009, well below the target of 15%.
“The racial ownership pattern of mining assets has remained largely unchanged,” Shabangu added. “The government will maintain a target for 26% black ownership of mines by 2014, according to the new charter.”
The charter is an agreement overseeing the industry, which requires mining companies to sell a portion of their ownership to black people in a bid to reverse decades of exclusion under white apartheid rule.
The biggest change in the revised charter is that non-compliance now could lead to mining licences being revoked and other legal penalties.
Minerals resources director-general Sandile Nogxina told reporters that the mining charter formed an integral part of a mining licence.
"The most far-reaching change is that non-compliance with the revised mining charter will amount to a breach of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, resulting in the suspension or cancellation of licences granted under the act,” prominent law firm Webber Wentzel said in a statement.
The new charter is aimed at speeding up black ownership, skills development, employment equity, procurement, housing and mining beneficiation.
“After 10 years of affirmative action being adopted as policy, progress on diversification of management and core-skilled workers remains minimal," Shabangu said. “Under the new charter, South African mining groups will procure 70% of services and 50% of consumer goods from black-led companies by 2014,” she added.