SABC News - Mining experts question governments commitment to MPRD bill:Tuesday 9 February 2016

Mining experts question government's commitment to MPRD bill

Tuesday 9 February 2016 06:15

SABC

Mineral Resources department told delegates at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town that government has prioritized the processing of the bill to ensure necessary policy certainty.

Mineral Resources department told delegates at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town that government has prioritized the processing of the bill to ensure necessary policy certainty.(SABC)

Some mining experts have questioned government's commitment to fast-track the finalisation of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Bill (MPRD).

This comes after Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane told delegates at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town that government has prioritised the processing of the bill to ensure necessary policy certainty.

The MPRD bill aims to increase beneficiaries. Investors have been on the side-lines for almost a year waiting for parliament to finalise the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Bill.

As a result, the sector is not attracting investors at a time of financial need. Mining analyst Peter Leon says it's been almost a year since the bill was returned to parliament.

Minister says the MPRD will fast track the process to assist in the sector. The bill was returned to Parliament for a rewrite over concerns of state-ownership of mineral wealth.

Zwane says government is working to ensure policy certainty through the review of the bill, expecting it to be ready around the end of April.

"Parliament has to deal with the MPRD is not in our hands, what we have to do is bring the matter of urgency."

The Chamber of Mines says efforts by local mining industry to raise capital are being frustrated by the current uncertain regulatory environment.

The chamber's President Mike Teke says the industry needs investors to survive the current cycle.

"Most of the mines are struggling to survive in most times, when you try to cut costs you try to control cost that you can control. And we don't want to lose jobs, but to recreate them when the boom times come. We must be ready from the regulatory point of view and investment and the country must ready for business."

Good news is that the Department of Mineral Resources and the Chamber of Mines appear to be close to a settlement on their diverging interpretation of the mining charter.

The indaba will feature discussion on balancing political risks and opportunities as well as networking sessions

Both parties have confirmed that there's a possibility for the dispute to be settled out of court.

The industry argues that once a company is 26 % black-owned, it has effectively complied with the charter, even if some of the black shareholders subsequently sell their shares.

Zwane says an agreement is imminent.

"Once empowered always empowered we have taken a stance as government that to work together with the primary right holders and deal with this matter out of court. It is in the best interest of all parties."

However Amcu is expected to brief the media. The indaba will feature discussion on balancing political risks and opportunities as well as networking sessions.

 

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