South Africa finally unveils new regulatory charter for mining sector

South Africa has published a revised version of the new charter for the mining sector, which will attempt to reverse the recent decline in the industry and attract fresh investment.

The unveiling of the third version of the charter brings to an end a seven-month engagement process, after President Cyril Ramaphosa asked newly appointed Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe to halt its implementation and hold consultations with stakeholders in the industry.

“The charter is an important contributory element to efforts aimed at stimulating the economy. It aims to create regulatory certainty, sustainable growth and a competitive and transformed mining industry,” said Mantashe.

“It is important to South Africa realising her long-term objectives of eliminating poverty, reducing inequality, and creating jobs.”

The charter spans seven elements: Ownership, mine community development, employment equity, procurement, beneficiation, housing and living conditions and human resource development.

In ownership, the revised charter upholds plans to raise the level of black ownership to 30% from 26% for new mining rights, but companies that have already met the 26% threshold will not have to increase it.

Mining companies must also provide employees and local communities with a free 10% stake, which is seen as an attempt to invest in peace and stability in an industry that witnesses a high level of industrial action and mine community unrest.

A controversial provision included in previous drafts that required companies to pay 1% of earnings to employees and communities if no dividends were paid for six years has been dropped.