South African miners to challenge new law in court next year

Kloof gold mine in South Africa. (Image courtesy of Sibanye-Stillwater)

A South African court will in April hear an application by mining companies challenging key provisions of a new code for the sector.

The firms are testing three aspects of the government’s revised mining charter, which sets out rules on ownership, investment and exploration, according to Tebello Chabana, the spokesman of industry body Minerals Council South Africa. The remaining provisions have been agreed on and companies have started implementing them, Chabana told reporters in Johannesburg Wednesday.

The legal challenge centers on whether previous black-empowerment transactions should be recognized even after the black shareholders exited, local procurement rules and the licensing for some minerals.

“We thought we were getting closer to resolving these issues, but at the end of the day the matter is still going to court,” Chabana said.

The charter, which aims to distribute the industry’s mineral wealth more equally among citizens after the injustices of apartheid, was first issued in 2004 and updated in 2010.

(By Felix Njini)

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