Mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane has dug in his heels on the latest version of the mining charter imposed on the industry, but has ended up with no charter at all while the legal process takes its course. The Mineral & Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) requires mining companies to comply with the charter in order to get new mining and prospecting rights or retain existing ones. Vanessa Jacklin-Levin of legal firm Dentons says the charter is a policy document. It doesn’t have the force of legislation, but because the mineral resources department uses it in assessing applications for mining and prospecting licences, it has an "extensive and material" effect. The third charter was gazetted earlier this year. Its contents caused an immediate outcry and a sell-down of local mining shares. The Chamber of Mines launched an urgent application for an interdict, which will be heard on September 14 and 15, pending a full judicial review. One of its main arguments is that th...

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