Cape Town - On Monday evening tensions unexpectedly arose when the ANC Youth League on the eve of the annual International Mining Indaba issued its long-promised discussion document on the nationalisation of mines.
Susan Shabangu, the Minister of Minerals, who at the end of last year essentially threatened the Chamber of Mines with its demise, will open the Indaba on Tuesday.
Shabangu is reviewing the mining charter which prescribes black economic empowerment (BEE) requirements for mining companies, and has made it clear that the Zuma administration is seriously perturbed at the slow pace of transformation in this strategic sector.
In a harsh attack on the Chamber of Mines last year she said that the Chamber and its members should pray that she would not be alive in 2010 - or they would cease to exist.
The outcome of the review was to have been announced by the end of last year, and there is little doubt that Shabangu will have much to say on it when she addresses the Indaba with its 4 000 delegates from across the globe in the Cape Town International Conference Centre.
The ANC Youth League's proposals for nationalisation which were published on Monday are probably intended as a political prelude to the government's findings regarding the review.
In the proposals the Youth League demands that the state should own at least 30% of every mine, but should have the power to declare 100% of all mining companies government property without compensation.
The league also wants no new mining licences to be issued, and for mining legislation to be re-drafted.
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