Ramatlhodi: SA has stable mining environment

Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi. (Muhahid Safodien, AFP)
Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi. (Muhahid Safodien, AFP)

Cape Town - South Africa is a stable mining environment for investors, Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi said on Tuesday.

"We wish to emphasise our intention to provide regulatory certainty for those who have invested here and those who plan to do so," he told delegates at the 2015 Mining Indaba in Cape Town.

He welcomed President Jacob Zuma's recent referral of the mineral and petroleum resources development amendment bill back to parliament.

READ: Mineral bill: Zuma holds fire

Zuma said last month that the bill did not pass constitutional muster.

Ramatlhodi said he was seeking counsel on testing some provisions of the bill with the Constitutional Court upfront.

"The beauty of this country is respect for the law."

Anyone who felt aggrieved in the process could approach the department.

"I cannot give you any better clarity on this policy issue because our policies are justiciable. I trust it is as clear as the blue skies of South Africa," he said to laughter.

"You would be hard pressed to find a similar legality anywhere in the world."

The minister also assured that government is committed to sustainable energy and labour solutions, amid difficulties at Eskom and an unprecedented months-long strike by platinum miners.

READ: Amplats, Harmony say power cuts threaten output

"Government is supporting Eskom to attain a long-term sustainable financial solution."

He said the country is not new to nuclear power and is to reactivate "capabilities that we had abandoned at the dawn of our democratic dispensation".

Miners who broke the law during labour negotiations would be arrested, charged and sent to jail.

On August 16 2012, 34 people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police near Lonmin mine in Marikana, North West. More than 70 others were wounded.

In the preceding week 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed.

Ramatlhodi said this strike was an exception to the rule and he did not see a repeat of it.

Should such a strike reoccur, however, political office would once again be brought into negotiations to end it.

The indaba, which has welcomed around 7 000 delegates, will run until Thursday.

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