Industry’s challenge to mining charter is against progress, says Gwede Mantashe
The mineral resources minister says SA’s reputation is improving regarding policy certainty, and still the council has gone to court
Mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe has accused the Minerals Council SA of fighting against progress as it challenges the 2018 Mining Charter in court.
In his keynote address at the official opening of Sasol’s Impumelelo colliery near Secunda on Friday, Mantashe said that while the world had recognised the strides SA had made in the mining sector over the past year, the council, which represents most major mining companies in SA, has chosen to approach the courts to review the charter.
“It doesn’t make sense to me,” he said. “The Chamber of Mines [as the council was formerly known] never allows stability. There are many among them who thrive on a crisis,” the minister said.
The completion of the Mining Charter was prioritised under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa in order to provide much-needed policy certainty. After extensive consultation, the charter was finalised and gazetted in September 2018. At the time, the industry had said that there were a few details to iron out but, in general, it was a charter it could live with.
Due to this, SA’s ranking in the Fraser Institute’s annual survey of mining companies, published in February 2019, improved.
“On policy and regulatory certainty, we have jumped 25 spots — from 81 to 56 — in in one year,” Mantashe said. “When it comes to investment attractiveness we have jumped five spaces — from 48 to 43 in one year.”
The minister said that SA’s reputation was improving, and so he thought it ironic that the council had gone to court.
On March 27, the industry association filed an application for the judicial review and setting aside of certain clauses of the charter. The council said the decision to do so was taken “very reluctantly” as attempts to reach a compromise with the minister were ongoing. However, it said it was obliged to launch proceedings because a 180-day window to legally do so was closing.
On Friday, Mantashe said he needed to be convinced that the council was a good corporate citizen seeking stability and growth.