Disappointment has once again filled the 2018 Investing in African Mining Indaba after Mineral Resources Minister, Mosebeni Zwane failed to address the Revised Mining Charter III in his welcoming address.

Jonathan Veeran, Partner and Deputy Head of Webber Wentzel’s mining sector group, said he was disappointed with Minister Zwane’s speech at the opening of Mining Indaba 2018.

“It was a missed opportunity to state that South Africa is open for business.  I can only assume that Minister Zwane could not say that because of the political impasse that we are facing as a country,” Veeran added.

Veeran said the failure to address various questions on delegates minds regarding the Charter leaves the industry in a state of limbo as no forward planning can be done.

“The laws can change at any given time, which is further exacerbated by inconsistent application of legislation and regulation.

“Labour, business, communities and government are also not constructively engaging each other, which has led to a trust deficit in the industry that has become pronounced in the last five years,” said Veeran. “To build a prosperous mining industry in South Africa, we need a social compact between these role players.”

Key elements that were not addressed in Minister Zwane’s Mining Indaba speech:

  • Policy uncertainty – Mining Charter III is pending and produces own-risk provisions for mining companies, creating no obligations for government in particular.
  • There seems to be no tie-in between government departments such as the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Economic Development.
  • Unclear regulation and legislation – The MPRDA Amendment Bill has been in the pipeline since 2013, with absolutely no traction.

“The three key themes that the Minister should have spoken to – resolution on Mining Charter III, inter-governmental department cooperation, and clarity on regulation and legislation –are critical to getting South Africa’s mining industry back on track, yet none of these aspects where addressed in any shape or form,” Veeran concluded.