New Chamber of Mines president Mxolisi Mgojo, right, outgoing chamber chief executive Roger Baxter and Sibanye chief executive Neil Froneman at the chamber’s annual general meeting yesterday. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi
Cape Town – The Chamber of Mines of South Africa on Thursday rejected the 2017 Mining Charter, saying it would approach the courts to stop the department of mineral resources (DMR) from implementing it.

"The chamber has advised its legal counsel to pursue the declaratory order relating to continuing consequences, which it has previously suspended in the interests of trying to reach a sensible agreement with the DMR. 

"Further, the chamber will seek an interdict to suspend the implementation of the Charter and to take the DMR charter on review," the chamber said in a media release.

The chamber was responding to the gazetting of the charter by Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane on Thursday morning.

The charter sets new black ownership targets for the industry. The targets included new mining rights, holders having 30% black ownership to be shared among employees, communities and black entrepreneurs.

Mining rights holders who have complied with the previous target of 26% have to “top up” to 30% within 12 months.

Those applying for prospecting rights would be required to have a "minimum of 50% plus one black person shareholding".

These shareholders must have voting rights. The Chamber of Mines claims it was not consulted and blames the department for setting "unworkable targets".

"The lack of meaningful engagement with the industry, and collective engagement with all stakeholders, has been most disappointing," said Chamber of Mines president Mxolisi Mgojo.

"It would be irresponsible of the industry to accede to unworkable targets and unnecessary institutions that are not founded in reality, or that do not have the interests of the industry at its heart. We are committed to being part of a process that arrives at an outcome that is aimed at simultaneously transforming, growing and sustaining the industry."

The chamber rejected claims that the industry was not interested in transformation.

"A great deal of progress has been made by the industry on transformation, but the journey is not yet over. By way of example, Chamber members have achieved ownership empowerment levels of 38% on average (compared to the 26% target set out by the Mining Charter)," it said.

"The value of empowerment transactions since 2000 amounts to over R205 billion in 2014 money terms. The value of meaningful economic value transfer between 2000 and 2014 amounts to R159 billion. Currently, more than 50% of management positions are occupied by historically disadvantaged South Africans."