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Zwane willing to give breather on Mining Charter

Apr 22 2016 10:39

Cape Town - South Africa's mines minister said on Friday he was willing to extend the 30-day period of consultation with industry players over a new draft of the Mining Charter, which states firms need to keep black ownership at 26%.

Mining companies have opposed the proposed rules published last Friday by the mining ministry.

"If there are issues that need us to go beyond that time we will do so," Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane told a business briefing.

Sibanye Gold [JSE:SGL], the country's biggest metal producer, on Monday criticised the planned Mining Charter, saying some aspects of the legislation are “not acceptable” in their current form.

The government published draft proposals last Friday stating that mines must be at least 26%-owned by black investors, even if those stakes are subsequently sold. It gave them 30 days to respond.

Mining executives including Sibanye chief executive officer Neal Froneman have argued this will lead to existing investors’ stakes being continually diluted.

The Department of Mineral Resources and the Chamber of Mines, which represents the largest producers in the country such as Anglo American [JSE:AGL], have gone to court over their interpretation of the charter, with the companies saying that they have still met the rules to hold licenses even after black investors sold their stakes.

"It is disappointing that the draft Mining Charter was published without extensive consultation and while court procedures seeking to clarify elements of the previous Mining Charter are still in process," Sibanye said in a statement on Monday.

The push for increased black ownership of the mining industry, which accounts for almost half of the country’s exports, is part of an effort to address the legacy of apartheid that locked the black majority out of key industries.

The charter also sets targets for companies to boost the number of black people in management and improve training and benefits for communities near mines.

- With additional reporting by Bloomberg.

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