New Mining Charter a step closer as Mantashe wraps up community consultations
The process of completing the new version of the Mining Charter is drawing near, with Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe promising a summit where the new document will be presented to all stakeholders for final comments before it is gazetted and brought into force.
"Before we present the charter to the Cabinet and gazette it, we will convene a summit where the department will present a draft and allow all stakeholders to comment on the final product that came out of the process of community consultations," Mantashe said in a late-night statement on Thursday, after concluding the final community consultation.
The charter has been one of the most contentious aspects of the South African mining regulatory environment in the past year, after Mosebenzi Zwane, when he was mineral resources minister, gazetted a document that was decried by the mining industry as damaging, unworkable and poorly drafted, prompting an immediate legal challenge.
Since his appointment in February, Mantashe, who is the chairman of the ANC and a 30-year mining sector veteran, has helped persuade the industry, represented by the newly named Minerals Council SA (the Chamber of Mines), to postpone its court challenge and restart talks around the third iteration of the charter.
Mantashe had said he wanted a charter completed in May but has more recently pointed to June as the month in which it would be gazetted.
He wrapped up the final community consultation in KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday, having visited all other mining-connected provinces for input into the charter.
"This process has afforded us an opportunity to reach out to all stakeholders and receive inputs from communities that will contribute in shaping the Mining Charter," Mantashe said.
"We have been encouraged by the level of engagements held throughout the country. We believe that with the inputs received, we will have a solid charter, which once implemented, will move our transformation objectives forward," he said.
The Minerals Council has been tightlipped about the new charter and the deliberations to formulate a new document, asking Mantashe at their recent annual general meeting to refrain from talking about it.
Mantashe, however, said there were two or three remaining issues that had to be resolved in the talks with the Minerals Council, but he did not elaborate on what these were.