More concern over new mining charter
THE CHAMBER of Mines yesterday warned that between 50 000 and 100 000 jobs could be lost in the industry in the next few years if the Mining Charter was gazetted in its current form.
The chamber, which represents 90 percent of South Africa’s mining industry by value, said that the impact could even be felt beyond the mining industry.
“I know of two particular transactions that have been cancelled this week, because of the uncertain environment following the gazetting of the charter,” the chamber’s chief executive Roger Baxter said.
The third version of the charter, which was announced my Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane two weeks ago, aims to promote equal participation of all South Africans in mining.
Baxter shrugged off Zwane’s claims that the chamber was anti-transformational, following its decision to approach the High Court in Pretoria to stop the implementation of the charter.
He argued that the charter could not promote transformation at the expense of the sustainability of the mining industry.
“Is this really a charter that promotes the country’s transformation agenda or somebody else’s agenda?” he asked.
The chamber previously said that it had achieved empowerment ownership levels of 38 percent on average, with the value of transactions since 2000 of more than R205 billion.
Baxter said that the charter was drafted in isolation and the chamber wanted the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to provide evidence that the new targets were viable.
“Investors have indicated that they are perplexed as to why the DMR has done what it has done,” he said.
The charter requires that 30 percent of mining houses should be in black hands and has given mining companies 12 months in which to reach this target.
Elize Strydom, chief negotiator for the chamber who was also at the meeting, said the application for the interdict against implementing the charter is to be heard in the High Court in Pretoria by July 18.
Strydom said that the chamber expected to meet the deputy judge president of the High Court today to discuss why its application was urgent.
She said that the chamber also wanted the charter to be reviewed and had 60 days in which to prepare its application, adding that they wanted the court to re-enroll the application for a declaratory order in respect of the continuing consequences of black empowerment in terms of the so-called once empowered always empowered.
The declaratory order was put on ice last year by agreement between the chamber and the DMR.
The Chamber of Mines hosted a round table on the Mining Charter as tensions with the Department of Mineral Resources escalated.