South Africa aims to finalise a third version of a hotly contested mining charter in June, mines minister Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday, later than the government had predicted last month.
The government and miners have been locked in difficult negotiations over the charter, which lays out requirements for black ownership levels and other targets, after the industry opposed revisions proposed by Mantashe’s predecessor.
Agreeing a new version of the charter is seen as instrumental to securing further investment in the mining sector, which new President Cyril Ramaphosa has made a priority.
“We aim to finalise and gazette the mining charter in June, having taken on board inputs and concerns from stakeholders across the country,” Mantashe said in a speech to parliament, a copy of which was distributed by the communications ministry.
Mantashe said in April that he aimed to finalise the charter by May.
South Africa’s mining industry has been grappling for years with depressed prices, outbursts of labour and social unrest and policy uncertainty.
The charter’s controversial areas included raising the target for black ownership to 30 percent from 26 percent.
The industry had challenged the revisions in court but put that judicial process on hold after Ramaphosa appointed Mantashe in February. When the charter is finalised, the industry will be legally required to follow its targets and regulations.source: Reuters; by Alexander Winning; Editing by Dale Hudson