File Photo: Mxolisi Mgojo, Chamber of Mines president, speaking during a media briefing in response to the gazetted Reviewed Mining Charter.

JOHANNESBURG - The Chamber of Mines is working behind the scenes to develop a new mining charter. 

The chamber’s president Mxolisi Mgojo yesterday told the Joburg Indaba in Sandton that the mistrust between the industry and Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane was too wide to consider the existing charter.

Mgojo said the mining industry was now developing ideas on what a new charter could look like.  He said the chamber was consulting with relevant stakeholders to come out with an acceptable pact. “We are talking to civil society organizations,” he said; “we are talking to the unions; we are talking to political and government leaders. Apart from those we are dealing with through the courts.”

Also read: Chamber of Mines lashes out at Minister Mosebenzi Zwane

Mgojo said the chamber would also talk to the Public Investment Corporation which manages assets worth over R1 trillion on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund.
The protracted spat between the chamber and Zwane has further complicated the bleak outlook for the industry where investor appetite has dried up. Yesterday, dissatisfaction towards the minister intensified, with mining law expect Hulme Scholes joining calls for Zwane to go.

“We cannot move forward if he (Zwane) is still the minister,” said Scholes. On Tuesday, the chamber snubbed a dinner on Tuesday where Zwane made a keynote address amid concerns that the charter was unilaterally developed and its implementation threatened to destroy the industry.

Chamber president Roger Baxter later said that they boycotted the event to register their disapproval of the current charter which was still subject to courts, despite Zwane extending an olive branch to the industry by saying he remained open to negotiations. Jacinto Rocha, Former deputy director general in the department Jacinto Rocha who was responsible for drafting the previous versions of the charter and is now director of Mineral Investment Advisory Services said given a chance, he would advise Zwane to do things differently.

Also read: Chamber of Mines snubs Minister Zwane

"If I could whisper in Zwane's ear I would say please do not  destroy what has been built  over the years." SA Institute of Race relations chief executive Frans Cronje said the stakeholders needed to come up with bold new approach that captured not just the minds of policymakers but the hearts of ordinary South Africans.

Cronje said the current bickering between the industry and the department would not resolve the situation. “The first practical step towards these necessary policy shifts lies in the mining industry starting to challenge and change the current terms of the debate so that these reflect its real contribution to society – while insisting that future mining policy enables and rewards that contribution," said Cronje.