Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe has come out in support of informal miners, saying legalising "zama-zamas" would protect the productivity of the mining industry. Zama-zamas are subsistence, or artisanal, miners who work independently of mining houses, using their own resources. The law does not recognise them and they are therefore regarded as illegal miners. Zama-zamas often target disused shafts across the country, which, at times, has led to deadly underground accidents, turf wars, as well as clashes with law enforcement authorities. Delivering his department’s budget vote speech in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday, Mantashe said that, along with gazetting the Mining Charter, enacting the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill, which has been tabled before the NCOP, will go a long way in contributing to policy and regulatory certainty. "Such certainty will lead to increased confidence in our mining sector, resulting in growth, tra...

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