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Johannesburg - The Chamber of Mines has welcomed National Treasury's inclusive growth action plan, but raised concerns that the plan does not address the critical challenges facing the mining sector, and that the chamber was not consulted before the plan was developed. 

This comes after Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba on Thursday unveiled a 14-point action plan to revive the economy following engagements with various stakeholders. Each action plan has been assigned a minister and has a deadline. 

The areas to be addressed include state-owned enterprises, with South African Airways being an action plan on its own, as well as the Mining Charter, telecommunications, public procurement and fiscal policy. Gigaba said further details would be unpacked at the mini budget in October.

In a statement, the chamber confirmed that its office bearers and its chief executive met with Gigaba on Tuesday to discuss the crisis facing the mining sector, and the specific challenges and issues that needed to be resolved to help the industry back onto its feet.

But the chamber said this meeting came after the adoption of the Treasury's plan, saying that it was concerned that the plan did not address challenges in the mining sector. 

"The 11 July meeting was held after Treasury’s Inclusive Action Plan had been developed, and it is the chamber’s hope that further substantive ideas will be discussed and potentially added to the action plan related to creating policy certainty and to improve investor confidence, among other things," the Chamber said. 

"The Treasury Action Plan as it currently stands does not address the critical challenges facing the mining sector. The sector is in crisis, with 70 000 jobs lost over the past five years and declines in net and gross investment over the past two years."

The chamber said it discussed with Treasury the challenges affecting the viability and investment attractiveness of the sector, including issues relating to policy uncertainty, such as the release of the Reviewed Mining Charter.

The Chamber said it also discussed the delays to the finalisation of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) amendment bill, the impact of illegal mining on the sector, the trust breakdown between the minerals department and the industry, as well as concerns regarding red tape and allegations of state capture. 

"It was agreed with the Minister that further engagement is necessary as a struggling mining sector has a material dampening effect on the whole economy, including the ability of the Treasury to collect tax revenue," the chamber said.

The chamber said all these issues would need to be addressed if South Africa was to realise the true economic and transformational potential of the country’s mining sector.

African News Agency