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Mining decline will continue unless new minerals Bill changed – Lorimer

JOHANNESBURG ( – The decline of South Africa’s mining sector will continue unless the new Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act Amendment Bill – passed by the National Assembly on Tuesday – is radically changed, says Democratic Alliance Shadow Mineral ResourcesMinister James Lorimer MP.

The Bill, sent back to the legislature two-and-a-half years ago by President Jacob Zuma, owing to parts of it being considered potentially unconstitutional, is now back in contention, but with only a few of its flaws fixed and still too much discretionary power in the hands of Mineral ResourcesMinister.

Hopes are now being pinned on those flaws being removed in the Bill’s passage through the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), as well as at regulatory level.

The Chamber of Mines of South Africa (CoM) notes that the Bill has been the subject of rigorous consultation, “and the industry appreciates that”.

But it also notes the continuing differences of opinion on the Bill’s constitutionality, a matter CoM CEO Roger Baxtersays the chamber raised during the consultation process.

“This will no doubt be dealt with during the finalisation process,” says Baxter, who adds in a release to Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online that the sooner the Bill is finalised the better in terms of the need for certainty in respect of the industry’s regulatory framework.

Lorimer notes that one telling event during the reprocessing of the Bill is the advice given by the National House of Traditional Leaders that an independent authority be appointed to issue mining licences.

He laments the failure of the Bill to reflect this as well as its failure to fix the provisions around oil and gas, which will once again result in South Africa missing the chance to garner investment, development, economic growth and jobs.

He decries as unsound the idea of government limiting mineral exports and forcing beneficiation through cheap local prices and advocates the removal of forced beneficiation from the Bill.

He also urges the bringing about of certainty through legislation rather than regulation and would like the NCOP to ensure that the Bill pays more attention to communities and brings about a transparent and fair licensing process.


Source: Mining Weekly