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New mining charter will be a 'disaster' for industry – DA

Politics
Parliament – The 2017 Mining Charter, published in the government gazette by Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane on Thursday, will lead to more damage than benefit to the mining industry and its workers, the DA has said.

The party said the charter, which among others, raises the target for black ownership for new mining rights holders to 30%, would only benefit ruling party "cronies".

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

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The sun sets behind a shaft outside the mining town of Carletonville. Photo: Reuters

DA MP James Lorimer said of the new targets: "In presenting his new rules, which amount to a massive giveaway of mine value to the ANC's favoured groups, Minister Zwane has opened the doors to more ANC crony enrichment."

"The DA supports share schemes for miners when they are structured to benefit the workers and are economically viable. One way of diversifying the mining sector would be to bring mine workers into mining schemes. It's pointless to try and diversify if it leads to the collapse of companies."

Companies applying for exploration rights should have "50% plus one black person shareholding, including voting rights" the new mining charter further states.

Lorimer said this would lead to the death of prospection.

"The BEE sector is perennially short of cash, particularly for speculative actions like prospecting. The amount of prospecting will plummet. Even if there are new finds, capital will be extremely difficult to raise," he said.

"One wonders if Zwane actually believes his statements about this charter which he says will 'catapult South Africa's economy forward'. The only place the industry will be catapulted is over a cliff."

On Thursday morning Zwane said the need for workers and communities to achieve meaningful participation and economic benefit from the mining sector had never been greater.

"We have listened to the people of South Africa, who have indicated that many of the structures for the inclusion of Black shareholders in the industry have been nothing more than debt-laden arrangements, with no real direct economic participation. We have taken the time to study these structures," he said. 

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