ANC calls for state intervention in minerals

By Drum Digital
27 September 2012

The ANC favours state intervention in the minerals sector, with a focus on beneficiation, according to recommendations from its national policy conference.

"Commissions agreed that state intervention, with a focus on beneficiation for industrialisation, is urgently required in the minerals sector," the African National Congress said.

The recommendations came out of the party's policy conference in June and will be considered at its national conference in Mangaung in December.

"At the forefront of this intervention should be the strengthening of the recently created state mining company, by consolidating state mining assets into a single institution," the ANC said.

"This state mining company will expand or contract depending on the balance of evidence, including by partnering with the private sector in strategic mining ventures."

This was the outcome of a debate on the ANC's discussion document --"Maximising the developmental impact of the people's mineral assets: state intervention in the minerals sector" -- known as Sims.

Sims is based on an extensive study commissioned by the ANC to find out how best to leverage South Africa's mineral wealth to grow the economy and create more jobs.

The study found that nationalisation of mineral assets was not affordable, as it would cost just over R1 trillion to acquire a 100 percent stake in all listed and non-listed mining companies.

The ANC said there was broad consensus at the policy conference that the minerals belonged to all South Africans through "state custodianship".

"Exploitation of minerals must optimise the developmental impact, especially job creation, across the economy," the party said.

It called for a greater degree of beneficiation, or transforming minerals into a higher-value product, which can either be consumed locally or exported.

The Sims report suggested introducing state control through the introduction of a 50 percent resource rent tax, or a super tax, which would kick in only when an investor had made a reasonable return, so as not to deter investors.

The ANC recommendations do not mention a percentage, but state that the "state must capture an equitable share of mineral resource rents and deploy them in the interests of long-term economic growth, development and transformation".

It also recommended that the state develop strategies to identify and manage strategic minerals in the national interest.

"Instruments to support beneficiation and competitive pricing of these strategic resources include the use of targeted export taxes."

The ANC said other issues raised in the Sims report could be dealt with by the party's national executive committee.

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