14 September 2010
South Africa has launched a new charter to facilitate the sustainable transformation and development of its mining industry, with emphasis on a target of 26% black ownership of the country’s mining assets by 2014.
The launch of the new charter comes after an assessment of the former charter showed that certain targets had not been met.
Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said her department had concluded an assessment of the progress of the industry’s transformation against the Mining Charter objectives as adopted in 2002.
“The observations are that growth in the mining industry has left much to be desired and transformation within the sector has been disappointingly slow,” she said.
Racial management, ownership pattern
According to the assessment, white men and women continue to dominate top management and technical positions in South Africa’s mining industry, earning much more than their black counterparts, regardless of skill and experience.
The racial ownership pattern of the country’s mining assets has remained largely unchanged, with only 8.9% black ownership attained by 2009 against the target of 15%.
The reviewed Mining Charter seeks to correct this, putting emphasis on 26% of SA’s mining assets being black economic empowerment (BEE) compliant by 2014.
It also makes provision for the complete elimination of hostels on South Africa’s mines by 2014, and introduces a sustainable element, premised on the understanding that the social licence to operate includes the environment, health and safety performance.
Shabangu said the reviewed Mining Charter represented collaborative work among stakeholders under the auspices of Mining Industry Growth, Development and Employment Task Team.
Penalties for non-compliance
The South African Mining Development Association and the National Union of Mineworkers have welcomed the new Mining Charter, saying that non-compliance would be dealt with.
Under the new charter, companies found not complying could face penalties which could include the revoking of a mining company’s licence.
Also as part of transforming the industry, the department has placed a six-month moratorium on all new applications for prospecting mining licences. The moratorium, which took effect from 1 September, will allow the department to review gaps and inefficiencies in the administrative process.