Tension between state and Amplats will be resolved – Shabangu

2013-02-05 13:58

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Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu has voiced confidence that tension between the state and Anglo American Platinum would be resolved.

“I am happy and satisfied that we are talking to Amplats, and it is going to yield positive results,” Shabangu told reporters after opening the Mining Indaba 2013 in Cape Town today.

“We understand the pain faced by the platinum sector; we are part of it as government, as a country, and we need to find lasting solutions among ourselves.

“It is not their problem, it is our problem as a whole, as a country, and we have to share that problem in finding a common solution in that.”

Last week, Shabangu described Amplats as a “child” that was brought back into line after putting plans to retrench 14 000 workers on ice while holding talks with labour and government.

Last month, the minister warned the mining company it was putting its licence at risk and accused it of arrogance for not initially including government in the discussions.

Asked about these remarks, Shabangu replied: “It was not controversial I must say, it was a factual statement, and also it reflects a challenge when you realise the tension between partners or between stakeholders.”

She added that the tension between the ministry and the company had underscored the importance of building trust between all involved in mining.

“What happened during the Amplats issue was that it shows that there was a breakdown, which we have acknowledged, but it is also an issue of saying, how do we reposition and have mutual trust and understanding among stakeholders?

“Mining companies ... we want to urge them to continue respecting the regulatory framework.”

Amplats yesterday reported its first annual loss after its output plunged eight percent because of wildcat strikes at its mines near Rustenburg last year.

Shabangu said government was looking into ways to ensure that South Africa remained a “destination of choice” for mining companies, including those in the platinum industry.

“We are looking at how best do we ensure as partners of government, labour, and the companies, what are the mechanisms that will mitigate the challenges faced by the mining industry.”

In response to a question, she said she believed that South Africa’s mining taxes were competitive.

Shabangu said plans to review the mining tax regime were “normal” as it formed part of the state’s revenue base, but reiterated that government would act in a responsible manner.

“We will review on a regular basis... They (taxes) are not static because they’ve got to respond to global challenges, but also they have got to respond to the needs of a country.”

The minister said yesterday government had not yet decided whether to raise mining taxes or not.

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