More con­cern over new min­ing char­ter

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Di­neo Faku

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.

PHOTO: SIMPHIWE MBOKAZI

The Cham­ber of Mines hosted a round ta­ble on the Min­ing Char­ter as ten­sions with the Depart­ment of Min­eral Re­sources es­ca­lated.

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