Thursday, 27 September 2018

Pretoria: The gazetting of the Mining Charter 2018 is a step towards creating regulatory and policy certainty in South Africa’s mining industry, says Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe.

The gazetting of the Charter on Thursday brings to culmination a seven-month engagement process with stakeholders in the industry on the matter.

The Charter is designed to achieve mutually symbiotic sustainable growth and broad based and meaningful transformation of the mining and minerals industry.

“The Charter is an important contributory element to efforts aimed at stimulating the economy. It aims to create regulatory certainty, sustainable growth and a competitive and transformed mining industry. It is important to South Africa realising her long-term objectives of eliminating poverty, reducing inequality, and creating jobs,” said Mantashe.

Earlier this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa asked newly appointed Mantashe to halt the implementation of the Charter to allow room for further consultations from affected stakeholders, including business and mining communities. The department had initially concluded its public consultations on the draft Charter in May 2018.

Mantashe, who was appointed to the post in February, said the Charter follows engagements with a host of stakeholders including mining companies, investors, mining communities and labour, among others.

Responding to a question at a packed media briefing at the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) premises in Tshwane, Mantashe said the Charter will be implemented.

“I can tell you that we are going to implement this Charter and people will feel that it is being implemented,” said Mantashe, adding that the Charter represents a consensus among stakeholders that have been involved within this process.

The Charter, which had been open for public comment until the end of August, spans seven elements. These are ownership, mine community development, employment equity, procurement, beneficiation, housing and living conditions and human resource development.

30% black ownership

On ownership, the Charter speaks to 30% black ownership at permit holding mining companies.

“To entrench regulatory certainty for investors, and provide security of tenure for investments, an existing mining right holder who achieved a minimum of 26% including a right holder whose BEE partner has since exited is recognised as compliant for the duration of the right,” said Mantashe of one of the proposals of the initial draft.

However, the 26% recognition will not be applicable upon renewal of mining rights and is not transferrable to a new owner.

In addition, the 2010 Mining Charter will apply to all pending applications lodged and accepted prior to the coming into effect of Mining Charter 2018.

The Charter states that the right holder will be expected to increase their minimum broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) shareholding to 30% within a five year period.

Meanwhile, companies receiving new mining rights granted after the coming into effect of the Mining Charter 2018 must have a minimum of 30% BEE shareholding which will be applicable for the duration of the mining right.

It shall be distributed as follows:

  • A minimum of 5% non-transferable carried interest to qualifying employees;
  • A minimum of 5% non-transferrable carried interest to host communities, or a minimum 5% equity equivalent benefit. Equity equivalent refers to 5% equivalent of the issued share capital, at no cost to a trust or similar vehicle set up for the benefit of host communities.
  • A minimum of 20% effective ownership in the form of shares to a BEE Entrepreneur, a minimum of 5% which must preferably be for women.

Expanding on the ownership element, the department’s Deputy Director General for Mineral Policy and Promotions, Ntokozo Ngcwabe, said the carried interest will be financed by the mining right holder.

“It might be free to the beneficiaries in this case communities but it is not free but rather carried by the empowering partner. It is carried interest to be financed from the development of the asset so as the mining right holder develops the asset, they would then pay off that carried interest,” said Ngcwabe.

On procurement, the Charter states that 70% of all mining goods are to be from BEE entities, while 80% of all services are to be sourced from these entities. In addition, goods must be procured in line with a standardised product identification coding system being developed by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).

On employment equity, the Charter states that 50% of appointments to boards must be black of which 20% representation must be women which is also applicable to appointments at an executive management level.

For senior management this is at 60% black people of which 25% must be women.

On housing and living conditions, principles set out in the Housing and Living Conditions Standards for the Mining and Minerals Industry must be adhered to. These include decent and affordable housing and provision for home ownership, among others.

Developing an implementation programme

The charter spans across seven elements including ownership, mine community development, employment equity, procurement and beneficiation.

Mantashe said the department will continue to engage its stakeholders and that there is already talk of working together to develop an implementation programme for the charter.

“The charter will only be successful when everybody involved is part of it,” he said.

Engaging mining communities

Mantashe, as part of his continued engagement with the sector, visited the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces over the course of the recent long weekend.

Media reports emerged that a community meeting which was to be addressed by the Minister on Sunday turned ugly when protesting residents were allegedly subjected to police brutality.

The Minister had gone to speak with the Eastern Cape community about their concerns over proposed mining by Australian company Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources (TEM) in the area.

“We are going to continue engaging that community, we are going to talk about conditions of mining,” he said.

Withdrawal of the MPRDA Bill

Meanwhile, the Minister spoke to the withdrawal of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment (MPRDA) Bill, saying it was a step towards creating regulatory and policy certainty.

The department has submitted a formal request to the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to withdraw the bill which was approved by Cabinet in May 2013.

At the time, the Department of Mineral Resources said the draft Bill will, among other things, regulate how mining licenses are awarded.

In August Mantashe said the MPRDA will be implemented in its current form.

Gas and oil legislation

The department has since engaged the gas and petroleum sector to initiate a process to develop a separate legal framework specifically for the sector and not have it as an appendage to the mining sector framework.

On when processes to kick start legislation for gas and oil will commence, Mantashe said this would happen after the withdrawal of the bill.

“I don’t think we should be forced to put timeframes on this process. We have to engage the sector so that process will start when we withdraw those amendments. It should move quite quickly,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za

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