Your editorial "A tough row to hoe" (October 2) presents a rather rosy view of what the third Mining Charter sets out to achieve regarding community ownership and development. You take a stand on a key problem – that “the intention of forcing community ownership on mining communities cannot be argued with” – when precisely the opposite is the case. It is far from clear that the best mechanism for passing the benefits of mining on to associated communities is always to impose partial ownership. Communities should expect to benefit primarily from the general economic expansion a healthy mining sector can deliver. The third iteration of the charter gives inadequate credit to the natural benefits of mining: employment; work experience and on-the-job upskilling; local revenues; upstream and downstream development; and the contribution to the fiscus. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that where provisions like those in the charter are made, the so-called community interest is invariably...
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