Gwede Mantashe. PIcture: SUPPLIED
Gwede Mantashe. PIcture: SUPPLIED

The department of mineral resources has gazetted the guidelines underpinning the recently released third version of the Mining Charter.

After the fiasco of the June 2017 charter, which was gazetted and subsequently suspended by then-mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane, the latest version of the charter, negotiated by incumbent minister Gwede Mantashe, has secured the backing of Minerals Council SA.

The council had challenged the Zwane charter in court. After Cyril Ramaphosa replaced Jacob Zuma as president in February and appointed Mantashe as mineral resources minister, the council dropped its legal challenge in favour of talks with the new minister.

While executives say the new iteration of the third charter, which was gazetted in September, is imperfect, it is much better than Zwane’s version and one with which they can work.

Unlike the first two versions of the charter — which first came into effect in 2004 and lay out obligations mining companies must meet on the racial transformation of their businesses to qualify for mining and exploration rights — the new charter has a detailed set of guidelines.

Mantashe has made regulatory certainty one of his mantras and the guidelines are intended to provide this in the implementation and measurement of compliance with the charter.

The 54-page document outlines, in painstaking detail, including formulas and tables, the requirements on mineral rights holders.

The charter compels the “mining industry to implement the following elements: ownership; mineral beneficiation; procurement; supplier and enterprise development; human resources development; mine community development; employment equity; principles for housing and living conditions standards.”

The full document, which was gazetted on December 19, can be read here.

seccombea@businesslive.co.za