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Mining sector needs stable, predictable regulations - chamber

Jun 07 2017 17:06
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg – The mining sector needs stable, predictable and competitive regulations to secure investment for growth, according to Chamber of Mines chief executive Roger Baxter.

Baxter was speaking at the Junior Indaba in Johannesburg on Tuesday. His comments followed Mining Minister Mosebenzi Zwane’s announcement that the Mining Charter will be gazetted next week.

READ: Mining Charter to be gazetted next week – Zwane

The charter has been a contentious issue within the sector due to the lack of consultation among stakeholders, Baxter pointed out in his address.

“We are very concerned over the DMR’s [Department of Mineral Resources'] reviewed Mining Charter to be released next week,” said Baxter. “The DMR unilaterally decided to go its own route.”

Baxter explained that the process in establishing the charter contrasts with similar processes in 2004 and 2010, where industry players were consulted. “The key issue is that these charters need stakeholder buy-in by all stakeholders - that is communities, labour and government,” he said.

This process lacked the “constructive and engaging spirit” of previous processes.

The fact that the chamber represents 90% of players in the industry shows the importance of engagement. Baxter said that if the industry is to remain committed to transformation, “workable objectives” which are progressive and achievable must be set.

“It will be highly unsatisfactory to be faced with a charter with targets that are patently unachievable.”

Baxter added that despite criticism, the industry has gained ground in terms of transformation. Employment equity profiles show black South Africans make up more than 50% of boards. Similarly, 42% of senior management positions, 50% of middle management teams and 65% of junior management teams are occupied by black South Africans, he said.

This contrasts with 1994 figures, where black South Africans were not represented. Baxter said there is a mistaken view that there are “small pockets of white monopoly capital” in the industry.

More than 50% of the sector is owned by South Africans through pension funds by means of the Public Investment Corporation and the Industrial Development Corporation; the other 50% is owned by mutual funds, he said. “The days of old randlords are gone.”

Much progress has been made in the transformation front, but the journey is ongoing, he said.

“Clarity and stability of mining legislation and the charter is key,” he reiterated.

Further, the chamber demands “fair and equitable” treatment in industry by means of a Membership Compact similar to ones set up by many mining associations across the world, said Baxter.

He said that the chamber is making an effort to be more transparent. 


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