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The government and the Chamber of Mines are in the process of formulating a new Mining Charter. The charter serves as a blueprint for transforming the mining industry with its primary aim being to benefit people who were disadvantaged under colonialism and apartheid. The mining sector was particularly exploitative and left a destructive legacy. Hence the need for a social compact. A question that isn’t given enough emphasis in forging a new compact is how to move mining from an extractive industry to one that generates inclusive and sustainable economic opportunities. This is particularly true when it comes to local communities negatively affected by mining — and mostly insufficiently compensated. Two related issues account for this state of affairs. First, the dubious deals that mining companies occasionally strike with local leaders, be they political appointees or traditional leaders, disempower those opposed to mining on their lands. Second, community members are often excluded ...

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