In a ruling certain to have consequences in talks about a new Mining Charter, the high court ruled on Wednesday that empowerment deals did not need to be topped up once a company had reached the 26% black ownership level and companies could not be penalised for falling below this level. The Chamber of Mines approached the high court after agreeing with former mineral resources minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi that the differences between the industry lobbying group and the regulator about the continuing consequences of past empowerment deals could only be resolved through a declaratory order by the court. The matter heard in November 2017 assessed arguments from the two sides, with the chamber’s representatives arguing the first and second versions of the charter did not stipulate the need for mining companies to perpetually keep empowerment levels at 26% once the original beneficiaries left. The department’s lawyers argued that true empowerment could only be achieved by topping up empowe...

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