Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane at the African Mining Indaba’s opening ceremony.Photo: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
JOHANNESBURG - The Chamber of Mines has asked ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in the impasse between it and the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR).

The chamber’s president, Mxolisi Mgojo, told journalists on the sidelines of the 24th annual Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town that the group had written to Ramaphosa to engage him on the state of mining.

“We indicated that, as soon as time in his diary permits, we want to engage with him. Before the December conference, he (Ramaphosa) articulated that it is going to be imperative to get the mining industry back on its feet. It is the flywheel of the economy. One of the things he wanted to do was to engage the mining industry on how to get things right. We are waiting for him to indicate the date when he is available,” Mgojo said.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe missed his address to attend a cabinet meeting called by President Jacob Zuma. The chamber said Ramaphosa’s election had brought optimism and renewed confidence in the mining industry.

Disagreement over the charter has seen a widening trust deficit between the chamber, which represents 90percent of South Africa’s mining industry, the DMR and Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane.

It played out again at the indaba this week, with the chamber raising concerns over its frustration over the lack of ethical leadership and good governance in the ministry under Zwane’s watch.

Zwane, however, said during a question-and-answer session that his door was open to all stakeholders for engagement.

He also said the DMR was an effective ministry.

“In the two years that I have been in the DMR, we have issued 30 mining rights. Our record speaks for itself. We are working with the people There are issues that we are not willing to compromise on, including the safety of our workers and transformation,” said Zwane.

The chamber is going to court to have the third version of the charter, which was gazetted in June and later suspended, set aside and reviewed.

Mgojo said the chamber was talking to stakeholders about a new vision for the mining industry and on where the industry wanted to be. He said the chamber had engaged with labour federations, banks, lawyers, the JSE and other exchanges on how to structure empowerment ownership structures. It had also spoken to the ANC, opposition parties and different ministries.

“Our first choice is to have ethical people around the table, people with the interest of the country at heart. We will not have a bilateral engagement with him alone He is not the player and the referee at the same time,” Mgojo said.