THE BOTTOM LINE
Is Gwede about to kick mining bill proposals into touch?
Hopes high that amendments to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act will be scrapped
Mining industry hopes are raised that amendments to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act will be scrapped and revisited in the future.
The hopes were ignited by comments from Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe before the parliamentary mineral resources portfolio committee that in his view, and that of his department, the amendment bill should be withdrawn.He cited the need to remove uncertainty from the mineral sector in SA.
The amendment bill has been in the works since 2012. When it finally came before then-president Jacob Zuma in 2015, presidency lawyers took one look at the bill and sent it straight back because of potential constitutional challenges and being out of step with SA’s requirements under the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs.
The bill is before the National Council of Provinces and there are said to be more changes to the document than the presidency wanted addressed. Clearly Mantashe, his team and their lawyers have seen what’s going on around the bill and thought scrapping it would be cleaner and more constructive.
The Minerals Council SA, however, was not as pleased as would be thought. It argued that so many years of work had gone into the bill that it would like amendments to the act to go ahead at some point, drawing on that work. This could well be a case of being careful what you wish for.