OPINION

Zwane suspends implementation of Mining Charter III - Chamber of Mines

This is pending judgement in the urgent interdict application being brought

MINISTER SUSPENDS IMPLEMENTATION OF REVIEWED CHARTER PENDING JUDGMENT

Parties agree to revised dates following undertakings by the Minister

Johannesburg, 14 July 2017: The Chamber of Mines advises that the Minister of Mineral Resources has given a written undertaking that the Minister and the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), will not implement or apply the provisions of the 2017 Reviewed Mining Charter in any way, pending judgment in the urgent interdict application brought by the Chamber of Mines.

The Chamber of Mines is seeking an urgent interdict to prevent the implementation of the DMR’s Reviewed Charter, published on 15 June 2017.

The Minister has furthermore undertaken that, in the event of any breach of the above undertaking, the Chamber can set the urgent interdict application down for hearing on 48 hours’ notice to the Minister.

Based on the written undertaking, the Chamber of Mines has acceded to the DMR’s request for extra time to prepare its answering affidavit to the interdict application and for the hearing to take place on a later date. The hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, 18 July 2017. The parties have asked the Deputy Judge President (DJP) of the High Court to allocate a hearing date in September 2017. This date is subject to allocation by the DJP, which is expected to occur by around the end of July.

Chamber of Mines CEO, Roger Baxter notes that this is a satisfactory arrangement for the Chamber and the industry, whose primary objective through the interdict application remains to ensure that the DMR’s Charter does not come into effect, pending a court application to have it reviewed and set aside. Mr Baxter reiterated the Chamber and the industry’s commitment to transformation, and stressed that it was imperative that meaningful and lasting transformation be undertaken in a way that it ensures the sustainability and growth of the industry.

The Chamber’s application to have the DMR’s latest version of the Mining Charter reviewed in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA) and the Constitution will be lodged as soon as possible after judgment has been handed down in the Chamber’s urgent interdict application.

Meanwhile, the Chamber’s Application for a Declaratory Order in respect of the recognition of prior BEE transactions under the Original and 2010 Charters, has been re-enrolled by the Deputy Judge President for hearing on 9 and 10 November 2017.

Statement issued by the Chamber of Mines, 14 July 2017

Statement from the previous day:

CHAMBER OF MINES RESPONDS TO TREASURY’S INCLUSIVE GROWTH ACTION PLAN

Johannesburg, 13 July 2017: The Chamber of Mines welcomes the statement issued by National Treasury today relating to the Government’s Inclusive Growth Action Plan as per the announcement by Finance Minister Gigaba at the ANC’s Policy Conference last week.

The Chamber confirms that it’s Office Bearers and CEO met with Minister Gigaba on 11 July 2017 to discuss the crisis facing the mining sector, and the specific challenges and issues that need to be resolved to help the industry back onto its feet. Challenges affecting the viability and investment attractiveness of the sector were discussed, including issues relating to policy uncertainty, the release of the damaging DMR’s Reviewed Mining Charter, the delays to the finalisation of the MPRDA amendment bill, the impact of illegal mining on the sector, the trust breakdown between the DMR and the industry, as well as concerns regarding red tape and allegations of state capture. It was agreed with the Minister that further engagement is necessary as a struggling mining sector has a material dampening effect on the whole economy, including the ability of the Treasury to collect tax revenue.

The 11 July meeting was held after Treasury’s Inclusive Action Plan had been developed, and it is the Chamber’s hope that further substantive ideas will be discussed and potentially added to the action plan related to creating policy certainty and to improve investor confidence, among other things.

The Treasury Action Plan as it currently stands does not address the critical challenges facing the mining sector. The sector is in crisis, with 70,000 jobs lost over the past five years and declines in net and gross investment over the past two years.

The mining industry’s own regulator appears to have done little to assist the mining sector through its extended viability crisis. The inappropriate application of Section 54 mine stoppages, delays in approving Section 11 transfers, delays in mine licensing processes and lingering policy uncertainty as a result of the imposition of the unilaterally developed DMR Reviewed Charter and delays to the finalisation of the MPRDA Amendment Bill have all detracted from investment.

Ultimately, all these issues will need to be addressed if South Africa is to realise the true economic and transformational potential of the country’s mining sector.

Statement issued by the Chamber of Mines, 14 July 2017