The roots of the ill-tempered impasse between the Chamber of Mines and the Department of Mineral Resources can be found in the exchanges in legal arguments presented in the court process to seek a declaratory order about the ownership element of the Mining Charter. How far apart the two sides are in interpreting what constitutes black ownership of mining companies and whether or not it should be maintained over the life of the assets was made starkly clear in the papers lodged in court in 2015. Arguably, this divergence in views has soured the relationship between the two sides, who concede there is a trust deficit, particularly under the incumbent minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, who, on the face of it, has acted virtually unilaterally on key issues. Even Zwane’s deputy, Godfrey Oliphant, admits that the minister did not take him into his confidence when he was planning a moratorium on all new mining and prospecting rights and the transfer of rights, given the legal challenge around the ...

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