The newly gazetted Mining Charter may be a policy that all stakeholders can live with, but the ultimate loser will be SA’s prospecting industry. The charter has been broadly welcomed by local mineral producers, which say it provides a level of certainty after years of policy and regulatory paralysis. Importantly, a court victory about the once empowered, always empowered rule means previous black ownership deals must be recognised, and this has been reflected in the new charter. Some niggling issues remain, but for those mining companies that have already sunk capital into SA, it’s enough to keep them producing until their mining rights expire in the coming years.  However, there is no mention of prospecting rights in the charter. In one way,  it’s a relief because the draft charter proposed some onerous requirements for prospecting, but it is worrying that the charter is silent on the issue and this could discourage exploration. There has been a drop in mineral exploration globally...

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