Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe, along with three other former trade unionists, played a critical role in ending a long-term political crisis between the mining industry and government that ended in his appointment this week. The story ends over two dramatic days in February, but goes back to mid-2017. It is the evening of Friday February 16 and President Cyril Ramaphosa is delivering his first state of the nation address. Among many promises, he slots in this one for the scarred mining industry: "Mining is another area that has massive unrealised potential for growth and job creation. We need to see mining as a sunrise industry. This year, we will intensify engagements with all stakeholders on the Mining Charter to ensure that it is truly an effective instrument to sustainably transform the face of mining in South Africa." This is a new mood. Years of internecine skirmishes had broken out into open warfare: the Chamber of Mines was in serial lawfare with now former minera...

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