The Minerals Council has hit out at the government’s threat to effect the "use it or lose it" provision in mining legislation, claiming that insufficient exploration was a far bigger concern. Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe is on a collision course with the mining sector over disused shafts. Mantashe says companies sitting on such shafts are dragging down economic growth. His criticism of shafts being put into care and maintenance — a mining industry term for production being halted but shafts being maintained and managed — has become a familiar refrain of his. "There is a fight I’m taking up with the [Minerals] council. When a company puts a mine in care maintenance, there is a deposit there — they are sterilising that deposit and contributing negatively to the industry," Mantashe said in July at the opening of Sasol’s Shondoni Colliery in Mpumalanga. Mantashe said large companies that were not mining shafts because it did not fit into their strategic framework had to "pu...

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