CAPE TOWN - Mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe on Monday urged the South African mining industry to conduct its business in a socially responsible manner, taking into consideration all affected stakeholders and the environment.
The relationship between the industry and the government has improved significantly since Mantashe took over the department, with a revised mining charter published last year being better received than one proposed by his predecessor.
Mantashe said the industry should demonstrate that it shared the same vision with government and labour to build a competitively growing sector defined by ethics, decency and integrity.
"While there might be issues on which we differ, on these fundamental matters, we are at one," he said during the signing of the Mining Leadership Compact ahead of the official opening of the 25th edition of the annual Investing in African Mining Indaba.
"Mining in South Africa offers excellent economic opportunities, but it has to be done in a socially responsible way with decent pay, labour rights and a safe workplace, all protected by strong trade unions."
"The sector must ensure that mining takes place with a strong focus on the environment and on the interests of all stakeholders, including those who live in the mining areas," Mantashe added.
The compact commits the sector's leadership to a common vision and sets the tone for developing a long-term strategy for mining.
"By signing and implementing the compact, we demystify the popular belief that mining in South Africa is a sunset industry," Mantashe said.
"We commit all efforts to ensuring that we have a sector that will have a positive impact on the economy and the country at large for many more years to come."
The Minerals Council South Africa which represents mining companies operating in the country said it was pleased to sign the agreement.
"The compact represents another step towards ensuring a growing, transforming industry able optimally to serve the interests of all South Africans," its president Mxolisi Mgojo said.
- African News Agency (ANA)