We do not nationalise, we mine, says Zuma

2011-02-26 17:47

President Jacob Zuma reiterated that nationalisation was not government policy at the launch yesterday of the state’s first mine in Mpumalanga.

The state mining company, the African Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation unveiled the site at Vlakfontein, near Ogies, where a coal mine is to be constructed.

The corporation is aiming to start producing coal by June this year, for a period of 15 years.

Zuma told a crowd of more than 1 000 community members: “Our policy is to build a strong mixed economy where the state, private sector, co-operatives and other forms of social ownership complement each other. . . Government policy on minerals and mining does not make provision for nationalisation of mining assets, but it does not prevent the state from participating actively in mining.”

Crisp white marquees covering an area the size of at least two soccer fields marked the site of the proposed Vlakfontein coal mine.

City Press reported last week on an array of 128 prospecting and mining rights that African Exploration is in process of snapping up, allegedly while receiving preferential treatment from the Department of Mineral Resources.

But the company’s CEO, Sizwe Madondo, insisted that it submitted applications “like any other company. . . we get rejected, we stand in the queue and we consult”.

According to Madondo, Vlakfontein is one of “a suite of projects” the company is pursuing in the coal sector to ensure long-term sustainability of feedstock supply to Eskom for power generation.

The Central Energy Fund will ­inject R130m into the mine – a loan that will have to be repaid.

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