8 February 2016

South Africa: Zwane - Regulatory Certainty Top Priority for Mining

The South African government is determined to speed up regulatory and policy certainty in the mining sector, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said on Monday.

The industry had raised concerns after the department delayed the submission of its reworked bill of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act to deal with various "procedural" issues, but Zwane said it will be tabled in 2016.

"We have prioritised the finalisation of the bill as a matter of urgency," he said at the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town. "Our stakeholders need regulatory certainty, so we need to close this chapter," he said.

"Government will create an enabling environment and ease of doing business in the country," he said.

Zwane said he has interacted with many leading mining CEOs leading up to Mining Indaba, offering them an open door policy to deal with issues of investment risk, regulatory policy and the transformation of the industry.

He said mining companies' biggest issue was over regulatory certainty, which he assured would be clarified through the tabling of the amendment bill in Parliament.

Zwane also indicated that the Mining Charter, which will be completed in March, was an "important transformation tool to restore the dignity of mine workers".

"We should collectively ensure all the people of South Africa benefit from mineral resources of the country," he said.

Godfrey Oliphant, deputy minister mineral resources, told media that the bill was pulled back to deal with domestic and international issues.

He said procedural issues had not been dealt with sufficiently. For example, he said the house of traditional leaders had not been consulted on customary law relating to mining.

Oliphant said it also needed to look deeper into how the law will impact international obligations, as well as the price relating to beneficiation. "It must add value to the product," he said.

"The current bill is a solid piece of legislation, which was tabled 10 years ago. "The amendments to the bill result from the lessons we have learnt over this time," he said.

Source: Fin24

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