This week’s Mining Indaba comes amid signs that the commodity cycle may be turning. The prices of some of SA’s key exports, such as iron ore and coal, jumped late in 2016. Although there are still doubts about how sustainable it all is, there are — as Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane put it in his opening address at the indaba on Monday — “signs that we are entering a new spring”. But SA will not be positioned to take advantage of the green shoots of spring, or the heat of summer, unless the environment for mining is conducive to private sector investment. And the minister’s bland speech was frighteningly short of any sign that he had understood investors’ concerns about the regulatory environment for mining — or that he had intentions of doing anything about these concerns. The minister said next to nothing other than that the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act would be concluded by June and that the final Mining Charter would be gazetted by March. Those are ...

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