Gwede seeks to axe mineral bill

Gwede Mantashe. File photo.
Gwede Mantashe. File photo.

Mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe wants to withdraw the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill‚ which has been stuck in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for months.

The withdrawal will be welcomed by the industry‚ which has been plagued by uncertainty during legislative processes dating back to 2013.

Mantashe told parliament’s mineral resources portfolio committee on Wednesday that his view‚ and that of his department‚ was that the bill should be withdrawn‚ allowing the mining industry to be governed by the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) in its present form. There was nothing in the act which inhibited the sector, he said.

The particular needs of the petroleum sector – which are addressed in the amendment bill – could be dealt with in a dedicated‚ directly targeted legislative framework.

Mantashe said this was better than trying to squeeze the petroleum sector into the MPRDA.

This proposal would have to be taken to the cabinet.

Of particular concern to the industry is a proposal in the amendment bill requiring mining companies intending to export minerals to apply for written consent from the mineral resources minister‚ who might apply certain conditions.

Producers of designated minerals would also be required to offer a percentage of minerals to local beneficiators.

Mantashe said there was nothing to be proud of in terms of the progress of the bill in the NCOP.

Several meetings had been held with the select committee dealing with the bill‚ including one two days ago.

The problem seemed to be a combination of a lack of understanding and the pursuit of narrow interests. Each of the provinces was adhering to its own particular mandates.

Dealing with the mining charter‚ Mantashe said he hoped to have it finalised before an investment summit scheduled for November.

“This will remove a great deal of uncertainty‚” he said.

The bill was sent back to parliament by former president Jacob Zuma in 2015.