SA mining in crisis, chamber boss tells international conference

2017-09-10 14:51

Chamber of Mines chief executive Roger Baxter has told delegates at the Africa DownUnder Conference in Perth that the local mining industry was in a crisis and Mining Minister Mosebenzi Zwane paid scant attention to the matter.

Baxter, according to the chamber’s statement, told the conference that mining in the country remained very important, was in a crisis but there were possible solutions that could “restore the dream of a prosperous, growing, and transformed mining sector”.

Baxter also said key governance and policy challenges in the country had eroded business and investor confidence and uncertainty had frozen new investment in the sector.

“Significant corruption allegations against the minister and the department of mineral resources have not been cleared and the proposed judicial commission of enquiry into state capture has not been established.”

Baxter was quoted by the chamber as having said the industry did not believe that the approach adopted by the department was serving the national interest of the country. The negative impacts of the unilaterally imposed Reviewed Mining Charter, the proposed section 49 rights moratorium, the nonresolution of the charter ownership issues, imposition of inappropriate section 54 safety stoppages, for example, had created a major crisis for the sector.

“The industry is of the firm view that the department’s charter is designed to benefit a select few at the expense of the whole country ... This is a resilient industry. Its stakeholders – including business, government, unions, communities and civil society– have reached a precipice in the past, but then realised that mutually agreeable solutions are possible. But, this will require ethical leadership and a focus on the national interest by all parties,” he was quoted as saying.

Speaking to City Press, the chamber’s senior executive for public affairs and transformation, Tebello Chabana, said the chamber was not undermining the country in Australia because the issues had also been made public locally.

Asked if the relationship between the chamber and Zwane was beyond repair, Chabana opted to only say the chamber and industry had lost confidence in Zwane.

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March 18 2018