JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe on Tuesday stressed the importance of tackling key aspects of the third iteration of the Mining Charter (Mining Charter 3) with urgency and speed.
Addressing media at a press briefing, in Pretoria, he said government was not going to start the Mining Charter from scratch, despite criticism from various organisations.
Mantashe stressed that Mining Charter 3 would be the basis of the negotiation of a new charter with industry, despite hope from key players that he would start discussions using Mining Charter 2 as a baseline.
“We cannot start from a clean paper; we have a Mining Charter and we are willing to discuss and amend certain aspects of it . . . The first problem, that we were not talking, has already been resolved,” he said, referring to discussions held over the weekend with the Chamber of Mines and various stakeholders around Mining Charter 3.
Mantasha noted that the weekend’s meeting dealt with disagreements on Mining Charter 3 and considered areas of convergence and divergence regarding the charter.
He further stated that the Mining Industry Growth Development and Employment Task Team (Migdett) would be revived.
Migdett was established in 2008 to help the industry counteract the effects of the financial crisis on the mining industry.
"This revived structure will enable us, as social partners, to meet regularly and proactively deal with issues confronting the sector, instead of waiting for a crisis to bring us together," he said.
Mantashe added that two task teams had been set up – one to focus on transformation in the sector and another to engage on issues of growth and competitiveness.
“These task teams will report back within three weeks.”
He highlighted that Mining Charter 3 concerns transformation, specifically ownership, control, management and meaningful participation by the black majority in the industry.
“Such transformation can occur in a growing and competitive mining industry. Our emphasis on transformation is on a mining industry that benefits producers – big and small, workers, communities and the economy of the country. Consequently, in our view, transformation and competitiveness are not mutually exclusive. Therefore, the long-term objective must be captured in the vision for the industry,” he said.
Mantasha, meanwhile, also reiterated that the charter would be finalised within three months.
The Chamber of Mines, meanwhile, said the industry was appreciative of the “real engagement” by the Minister.
“We are aligned with the Minister’s thinking that transformation, competitiveness and growth are and should be mutually reinforcing goals. These imperatives are not at odds with each other,” it said.
The chamber pointed out that it would participate in the two technical task teams established by the Minister, with a view to reaching an agreement that would ensure further effective progress on transformation and the sustainability of the industry.