South Africa’s mining industry has been effectively stagnant in terms of employment levels and ore mined for almost a decade. A big reason has been regulation, which became progressively submerged in a catastrophe of poor choices. Many of those poor policy choices were cloaked in a veneer of black economic empowerment (BEE) transformation but, in effect, they were little different from a shakedown of the existing industry for purposes of quick enrichment by a select inner circle. The result has been a stand-off between the industry and the government, which culminated in two court cases, one of which has been suspended to allow a new administration and new minister the opportunity to try and salvage the situation. Judgment in the other case was handed down on Wednesday in favour of the mining industry, as represented by the Chamber of Mines. The critical question in this case concerns the notion of once empowered, always empowered, which the government has rejected in more recent BE...

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