JOHANNESBURG - Anglo American Plc chief executive Mark Cutifani yesterday called on the mining industry to promote itself and rally behind a unified vision in order to address regulatory issues and uncertainties that have driven investments away.
Cutifani told 400 delegates of the Joburg Indaba, the annual gathering of South Africa’s mining executives, labour bosses, lawyers and fund managers that they needed to address underlying issues that would get the industry back to the top global mining investment destination.
“Investors must believe we have confidence in our industry, economy and institutions if they are going to invest,” Cutifani said.
“We cannot achieve this when we keep pulling from different ends.”
Cutifani said the industry needed an aligned voice, bringing labour, government, non-governmental organisations and mining companies to promote the South African mining industry.
“I’m not for a second suggesting we should abandon our respective positions and causes, I’m merely making the point that we are all vested in the success of this industry and need to start acting in that way,” he said.
The industry has a revised mining charter, which was gazetted last year by Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe as a step towards policy and regulatory certainty.
It replaced former Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane’s charter that threw the industry into disarray in 2017, with an estimated R50 billion lost in value.
“While we may have misgivings on some of the unresolved issues in the charter, it is clear that these can only be resolved if we, as an industry, work with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to find a solution that guarantees the growth and sustainability of South Africa’s mining sector,” Cutifani said.
The charter speaks of 30percent black ownership at permit holding mining companies from a previous target of 26percent.
The Minerals Council of South Africa, formerly known as the Chamber of Mines, took the third mining charter to court for a judicial review, citing that certain elements of the charter were problematic.
The council challenged the charter’s continuing consequences provisions after ongoing talks with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy failed to find a solution within the 180 days available to file a review application.
The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy sought leave to appeal a court judgment in April over a crucial black-ownership principle in the country’s Mining Charter.
In April the court granted a declaratory order on the “once empowered always empowered” rule for Black Economic Empowerment ownership transactions related to the mining industry.
Earlier yesterday, when he was asked what he would do if he were the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy for a day, Anglo American Platinum chief executive Chris Griffith said he would withdraw the appeal against the rule.
“The process of the appeal seems to prolong the uncertainty. I would kill once empowered. I would allow juniors and explorers to be exempt from the charter,” said Griffith.