South Africa: Department of Mineral Resources Finally Launches Tender to Replace Dysfunctional Mine Licensing System

analysis

The procurement process to replace the dysfunctional Samrad mine licensing system has finally been launched by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy. The system has been blamed for a backlog in the processing of more than 5,000 applications for mining and related rights.

On 1 June, Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) Director-General Thabo Mokoena promised an investor conference that the department would issue publicly the tender for a new online mining cadastre to replace the utterly useless Samrad system for registering mining rights applications. That would have been around mid-June, but six weeks after that timeframe, the DMRE finally announced on Friday, 30 July, that it was launching the procurement process. The tardiness is not exactly on a geological scale - South Africa's mineral wealth was accumulated over eons - but it highlights the DMRE's obvious inability to deliver crucial stuff in a timeline that it has publicly set for itself.

A workable replacement to Samrad is crucial. DMRE Minister Gwede Mantashe told another mining conference this year that Samrad "is our biggest worry as a department". Investors who want to apply for mining, prospecting and related rights often throw their hands up in despair as they...

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