Chamber of Mines withdraws mining charter interdict

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. (Pic: Gallo Images)
Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. (Pic: Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The Chamber of Mines on Wednesday said it had withdrawn an urgent application for a court to interdict Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane from implementing the reviewed Mining Charter.

This comes after lawyers for Zwane promised the chamber that the minister would not implement the charter before an upcoming court case in mid-December. 

The chamber had feared that Zwane could implement the controversial charter before the court case. 

But it said in a statement on Wednesday that Zwane had promised to not do so. 

In a letter sent by Zwane’s legal counsel to the chamber on Wednesday, the minister undertakes to not “implement or apply the provisions of the 2017 Mining Charter in any way…pending the judgement of the review application”.  

The chamber, which promotes the interests of mining houses in South Africa, said the minister’s undertaking meant its interdict was no longer necessary. 

Court case still going ahead 

While it has withdrawn its urgent interdict, the chamber is set to argue in court about why the charter should not be implemented. The case wil be heard on December 13 and 14. 

The chamber has been vocally critical of the charter, saying that, in its current form, it would “jeopardise the viability of an industry that is already under significant economic pressure”.

Key aspects of the charter include an increase in black economic empowerment (BEE) shareholding of all mines from a previous 26% to 30%. In addition, 50% of all board members and executive management at mines must be black, while 70% of all mining goods and 80% of all services in the mining industry must be procured from BEE entities.

New mining rights are subject to a 1% revenue payment to BEE shareholders prior to any shareholder distribution.

Zwane has defended the charter, saying that it was government's prerogative to create laws. 

“We have not been clear enough to say at a particular point that we are governing - we are making legislation that will take this country forward and business should do business,” he told the media in July. 

READ: Zwane on Mining Charter: Business should stay out of governin

In his lawyer’s letter on Wednesday, Zwane also promised to make reference to the fact that he would not implement the charter whenever he mentions the charter in public before the court case. 

This may be to avoid confusion by foreign investors over whether the charter was yet law or not.

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