The Minister said this when he briefed journalists ahead of tabling the department’s Budget Vote speech at the National Assembly on Tuesday afternoon.
“In a matter of weeks, you are going to see the mining charter gazetted,” the Minister said.
The Minister said approximately 60 stakeholders have been consulted so far, and that the department was almost “at the end of that consultation process”.
He said the Mining Charter would help empower the people of South Africa, including mining companies.
Tabling his speech at the National Assembly after the media briefing, the Minister reiterated that “the review of the Mining Charter, which was gazetted in April 2016 for public comment, is almost complete”.
“Although we had initially intended to have the process finalised in March 2017, further consultations have been undertaken and we are confident that the Charter that will be gazetted will be reflective of the careful consideration given, substantive inputs received and meaningful engagement with stakeholders.”
The gazetting of the Mining Charter, the Minister said, was one levers that would be used to drive growth and transformation after President Jacob Zuma called for the state to use all its regulatory tools to implement radical economic transformation.
“We will continue to use the regulatory tools at our disposal – the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) and Mining Charter, to drive growth and transformation in the sector.”
He said the department’s R1.779 billion budget for the 2017/18 financial year has been aligned to the priorities of the nation and to the long-term vision of socio-economic vision.
In South Africa, mining remains at the centre of the country’s economy.
Not only does it account for 7.9% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs almost 460 000 people, it is the basis upon which other industries such as finance and manufacturing, have been built, the Minister said.
The Minister said he is of the view that mining will continue to play a key role in the country’s economy over the next 100 years and beyond.
This, he said, means that all stakeholders would need to work together to ensure that the economy grows to benefit all South Africans.
“We are making decisive interventions to ensure increased black ownership and participation in the sector.
“In order to substantially boost the community development impact from mining through better implementation of Social and Labour Plans (SLPs), more emphasis is being placed on alignment of SLPs with the Integrated Development Plans of local municipalities.”
Calls for industry to ensure there is labour stability
Meanwhile, the Minister has called on industry stakeholders to ensure that labour bargaining processes are held in a manner that ensures that there is stability in the sector.
“We continue to experience stability in the sector, with the peaceful conclusion of the October 2016 platinum wage agreements with the three major producers as an example.
“This represents a significant step in the continuation and strengthening of relationships built between the labour unions and mining companies since the signing of the Presidential Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Mining Industry in 2013.
“We encourage stakeholders to continue in this manner as they hold wage negotiations in the year ahead, and also work with communities, as stability is critical for the long-term sustainability of the mining sector,” he said.
The Minister said attracting investment and growing the sector remains one of the department’s key focus areas.
He said, meanwhile, that since the announcement made at the Mining Indaba in February, of an integrated, multi-disciplinary geological mapping programme worth R20 billion over 10 years, the Council for Geoscience (CGS) has developed a plan of action to grow South Africa’s share of global exploration investment.
“As part of assessing the potential of the shale gas resource, CGS and Petroleum Agency South Africa (PASA) are conducting a scientific programme that will include the plan for its sustainable development.
“This will attract new investment in shale gas and the broader upstream petroleum sector,” he said.