Mantashe to discuss Mining Charter with industry, unions in weekend summit

Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe will host key roleplayers in the mining industry this weekend for the long-awaited Mining Summit.

The summit, held in Boksburg, will see the Department of Mineral Resources meeting with mining companies, unions and community groups to engage on the revised Mining Charter, ahead of its adoption as policy.

In June, Mantashe told reporters the summit would not be an opportunity to add anything new or present broad changes to the latest version of the charter, but to fine-tune it.

"If you bring something critical, we will listen," he said at the time. 

For years, the draft policy has been under pressure from companies, labour and mining communities to incentivise transformation in the sector without harming profits, or excessively penalising companies for incidences that affect their transformation shareholding.

In the revised charter, Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) objectives and conditions remain part of mining license rights. Mining rights have 30 years secured for the holder and a target 30% transformation ownership remains from the previous charter.

While the latest version of the charter does not have the same "once empowered, always empowered" approach as previous versions, Mantashe says it provides significant protection from penalties to companies where empowerment partners exist.

While the Minerals Council of South Africa (formerly the Chamber of Mines) has said it supports a 30% black ownership target on new mining rights, it added in a statement that it did not support the free carried interest of 5% allocated to labour and communities.

"Given South Africa’s mature mining sector, a 10% total free carried interest on new mining rights will materially undermine investment, by pushing up investment hurdle rates and ensuring that many potentially new projects become unviable," said the council in a submission released in June.

·         READ: Gwede’s charter gets the thumbs down

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesperson Luvhuwani Mammburu told Fin24 on Friday that the union was holding its own summit in Johannesburg on Friday, where delegates would formulate the union’s mandate and forward this to the department’s summit on Saturday.

"We will take our position ahead of going into the summit at our own engagement taking place today.

"We have not taken a decision yet and we are still going to make our own position clear at this gathering and then we will submit that the department’s summit," said Mammburu.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has called for more pronounced community representation in the Mining Charter, and asked that the charter enable more beneficiation within the mining sector.

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