Attempts by mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe to provide certainty for investors in the beleaguered mining sector have hit a roadblock: one of his fellow ministers. On August 29, Mantashe told investors at a mining conference in Australia that the controversial Mineral & Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill, which governs the mining and petroleum industries and has been in the works since 2012, has been withdrawn from parliament. Concerns about the bill include the designation of certain minerals for local beneficiation and the awarding of free stakes in oil and gas finds to government.

But last week, energy minister Jeff Radebe told investors the exact opposite at a conference in Cape Town — that his department wants the law passed as soon as possible and that parliament is expediting it. The conflicting statements add to the persistent cloud of policy uncertainty over SA’s mining, oil and gas industries, which has proved a major blockage for investment for ...

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