Mining sector is not against transformation - chamber

Cape Town – Setting targets that the mining industry cannot achieve will create more contestation and undermine investment in the sector going forward, the Chamber of Mines said on Monday.

In a statement in response to Mines Minister Mosebenzi Zwane’s opening address and comments made at a media briefing on the first day of the 2017 Mining Indaba, the Chamber said it recognises the fact that all stakeholders have an interest in the outcomes of the mining charter. 

Zwane, flanked by his deputy Godfrey Oliphant and director general David Msiza, earlier said during a media briefing that the Chamber of Mines is not the only stakeholder that will be affected by the finalised mining charter, which will be published in the Government Gazette in March. 

READ: Wait almost over for SA's final mining charter

“There are altogether 60 stakeholders which will be affected by the mining charter and they’re happy,” Zwane said.

He added that although government is consulting with stakeholders at the end of the day it will take a decision and then gazette (the charter). That’s what we’re going to do.”

In its response, the Chamber of Mines said it recognises and respects the role of government and that all stakeholders have an interest in the outcomes. 

“However, the practical reality is that it is the chamber’s members – representing 90% of South Africa’s mineral production by value – who are the companies that will be responsible for implementing the revised mining charter, and will in fact be assessed based on the targets set,” the chamber said. 

READ: Mining sector wants less stick more carrot from Zwane

“It is for this reason that the chamber and its members seek a practical and workable third iteration of the charter that can be practically implemented in our ongoing transformation journey.”

In addition, the chamber reiterated that it has done more than any other component of the private sector to progress transformation in South Africa. 

This was said in response to hints from Oliphant at the media conference who said South Africa can’t co-govern with “those who block transformation”. 

“The mining industry has been very litigious to block transformation,” he said. 

READ: Zwane: Govt won't be bullied by mines sector

The chamber said in response to this remark that comments attributed to the department that parties who seek clarity or enforcement of their rights by the courts are “anti-transformation” is most unfortunate. 

“The industry and its members will engage constructively in seeking pragmatic and realistic outcomes in discussions with government, but will seek clarity and secure their rights where required.”

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