While civil society has welcomed a high court ruling which empowers communities to refuse mining on their land, mining law experts warn it could severely damage investment in SA. The landmark judgment said the mineral resources minister could not award a right to mine in the wild coast area of Xolobeni, unless “full and informed” consent had been obtained from the community. This power will also extend to other communities under customary law. Mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe, has reportedly indicated he wants to appeal against the judgment. SA in recent years has struggled to compete for investment in new mining projects, partly because of regulatory uncertainty. Allan Reid, head of the mining and minerals sector at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr said that for 90% of the time, applications for new mining rights are for areas which are under customary law. “The implications are enormous. It’s a decision which is going to cripple the mining industry,” said Reid. “Already there are so...

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