CityPress - - Business - JUSTIN BROWN busi­ness@city­press.co.za

Min­eral Re­sources Min­is­ter Mosebenzi Zwane has said that the min­ing sec­tor re­mained a pil­lar of local eco­nomic growth and that gov­ern­ment ex­pected the sec­tor to con­tinue op­er­at­ing for an­other 150 years. “With an es­ti­mated $2.5 tril­lion (R30 tril­lion) to $3 tril­lion in non-en­ergy min­eral re­serves still in situ, we are look­ing for­ward to an­other 150 years of min­ing in South Africa,” he said. Zwane was ad­dress­ing the Min­ing Ind­aba that took place in Cape Town this week.

“As we move min­ing for­ward, let’s take ev­ery­one along and en­sure that the min­eral wealth be­neath our soil in­deed ben­e­fits all South Africans,” Zwane said.

This year, gov­ern­ment would be pro­mot­ing small and medium-sized en­ter­prises as part of its ef­forts to sup­port min­ing and ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion.

“Job op­por­tu­ni­ties lie with small and medium com­pa­nies,” Zwane said.

Deputy min­is­ter of min­eral re­sources God­frey Oliphant said that com­mod­ity prices had bounced back and the “win­ter in the min­ing in­dus­try is over”.

Zwane said the Min­eral and Pe­tro­leum Re­sources Devel­op­ment Amend­ment Act was in the process of pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion and this would be con­cluded by June, while the new min­ing char­ter was ex­pected to be gazetted by March.

Mark Cu­ti­fani, An­glo Amer­i­can CEO, said: “The next three to four months will de­ter­mine the fu­ture for the next 150 years.”

He was re­fer­ring in par­tic­u­lar to the new min­ing law, es­pe­cially the min­ing char­ter. South Africa needed a sta­ble reg­u­la­tory frame­work to en­sure the coun­try again be­came the min­ing giant it once was, Cu­ti­fani said.

“If I as­sume 27% di­rect black own­er­ship of our mines and add to this the par­tic­i­pa­tion by black South Africans in pen­sion funds and di­rectly on the JSE, black South Africans own more than 45% of our South African op­er­at­ing as­sets,” he said.

“Many peo­ple still don’t un­der­stand that the own­ers of most of South Africa’s pub­licly listed min­ing com­pa­nies are not the ‘Rand­lords’ or mag­nates of the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions, but rather or­di­nary pen­sion and in­vest­ment fund own­ers – that is, av­er­age South African cit­i­zens of all races: black, white, coloured and In­dian.

“White and even black mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal is a con­ver­sa­tion that should be con­demned to a dif­fi­cult and dark South African past,” Cu­ti­fani said.

Mike Teke, Cham­ber of Mines pres­i­dent, said that the min­ing sec­tor was los­ing the bat­tle for hearts and minds.

The min­ing in­dus­try’s apartheid past was a huge ob­sta­cle for the sec­tor, Teke said.

Trans­for­ma­tion was hap­pen­ing, but a lot more could be done, he said.

He said there was a need for the next min­ing char­ter to be ac­cepted and sup­ported by all.

“Lets get the amend­ment bill through the par­lia­men­tary sys­tem,” Teke said.

Roger Bax­ter, Cham­ber of Mines CEO, said the amend­ment bill was first pub­lished in De­cem­ber 2012 and it was still not fi­nalised.

“It’s taken too long,” he said.

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