South Africa’s Chamber of Mines lodged a formal application to halt a new mining charter that would, among other things, require new mining rights holders to have 30 percent black ownership.
Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane said that he had noted the actions taken by the Chamber of Mines in applying for an urgent interdict on the 2017 Mining Charter but that he was confident the courts would rule in favor of the new charter.
The Independent reported that the Chamber of Mines applied to the high court Gauteng Division for an urgent interdict to prevent the implementation of the Reviewed Mining Charter, as published by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) earlier this month. The Chamber said an application to have the updated Mining Charter reviewed in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA) would follow in due course.
, Zwane said it was virtually impossible to please all parties as with any legislation developed. Zwane said he respected the Chamber's decision, but did not support it as the Mining Charter sought to achieve redress and transformation. "It is our view that those who support this Mining Charter support our quest for transformation, and those who are in opposition to the Charter are in fact opposing the transformation objectives of Government, and we stand ready to defend the interests of South Africans in this regard," Zwane said.
"It is unfortunate that the Chamber of Mines has chosen to take this route, but their decision is respected, and the democracy we fought for allows all of us to exercise our rights in this manner. We have confidence in the courts' ability to act with diligence on this matter."
The new Mining Charter sets new black ownership targets for the industry. The targets include new mining rights holders having 30 percent black ownership to be shared among employees, communities and black entrepreneurs.
Those applying for prospecting rights would be required to have a "minimum of 50 percent plus one black person shareholding". The Chamber's high court application noted that its members were fully committed to the transformational objectives of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA).
But the Chamber said it was opposed to the DMR's Mining Charter as it "attempts to subvert those objectives by the unlawful publication of instruments which purport to give effect to such objectives but in fact undermine them". The court is yet to announce the date it would hear the Chamber's application for the interdict.