South Africa mines minister delays finalization of draft mining charter
Public comment on the mining industry charter that lays out requirements for black ownership levels and other targets in South Africa’s mining industry has been extended by a month.
South Africa’s mines minister Gwede Mantashe said he would extend the comment period until the end of August, Reuters reported.
The charter has led to uncertainty and has deterred investment into the mining sector that accounts for 8 percent of gross domestic product in the world’s top platinum producer.
“It gives people a chance to engage more and comment more,” Mantashe said during his closing speech at an industry summit to discuss the charter.
A draft of the charter published in June extends to five years from one year the time that existing mining permit holders will have to raise black ownership levels to 30 percent from 26 percent.
It also proposes a requirement that 10 percent (a third of the 30 percent black ownership target) for new mining right applicants be granted free to communities and qualifying employees, dubbed “free carry”, which industry body The Minerals Council South Africa has opposed.
The charter, published for public comment before entering into law, is part of South African affirmative action rules aimed at reversing decades of exclusion under apartheid.
The government and miners had been at loggerheads over a previous version of the charter, which the Chamber of Mines industry body, now the Minerals Council, criticized as confusing and a threat to South Africa’s image with investors.