Cape Town – President Cyril Ramaphosa has shared his vision of a transformed mining industry which should benefit the people of South Africa and not a select few.
Ramaphosa was answering questions from MPs about the mining charter on Wednesday.
Last month the judicial review of the Mining Charter was put on hold as the Chamber of Mines, which represents the majority (90%) of stakeholders in the industry, and government agreed to renegotiate the charter.
Ramaphosa said that the new mining charter would benefit the industry as a whole.
“The mining charter is being addressed as we speak. The agreement reached should be to the benefit of the industry as a whole and all its stakeholders," he told Parliament.
“Underneath the soil of the country lies minerals waiting to be exploited, but this time round as they are exploited they must be to the benefit of the people, not a few all over the world,” he told Parliament.
He added that new Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantahse has hit the ground running by engaging with various stakeholders to discuss how mining can contribute to the growth of the economy and to address problems at troubled mines like Optimum Coal Mine.
Ramaphosa said he was hopeful that an agreement on the charter could be reached, and within the three-month target set by Mantashe.
“We have a minister who knows the industry, has worked in the industry and understands the industry, he understand miners. He has worked underground and knows what the underground of a mine looks like,” Ramaphosa said of Mantashe.
The transformation of the industry should transform the ownership and management of the industry to promote equity, but also to enable the industry to develop sustainably, he said. He stressed the importance of involving black South Africans, women and the communities where mines operate.
“Mineworkers should have a greater role in decision making,” he said. They should also be assisted in acquiring equity stakes in mining companies.
The industry should still be attractive to investors, through a charter that offers stability and certainty.
“I look at it (mining) as a sunrise industry. An industry that can create jobs, stimulate industrial productivity and promote social development,” he said.
Ramaphosa believes there is still massive potential for South Africa’s mining industry to grow and make a meaningful contribution to the economy.
Stakeholders to do their part
Responding to a question about how certainty can be created when the charter changes every five years, Ramaphosa agreed that investors want certainty on a sustainable basis.
“Every investor wants to know the rules of the game won’t change now and then.
“The mining charter we will finalise will stand us in good stead for many years to come. Otherwise it will be difficult to attract investors.”
Ramaphosa said that mining is a long-term process and investors have to commit their money for a long time before dividends are realised.Ramaphosa added that partners need to implement their parts of the agreement. “When we have partners who implement their side of the agreement we won’t need to set up a mining charter every five years.”
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