What are the current concerns with the 2018 mining charter?
Although the 2018 mining charter is an improvement from the previous versions, there are still many interpretational difficulties, such as on ownership. The mining 2018 mining charter makes provision for different categories of mining right holders and these are existing, pending and new mining rights holders. In terms of the 2018 charter, all existing mining right holders who were compliant with the 26% black ownership requirement when applying for rights would be deemed to be compliant for the duration of the mining right. The charter recognises the once empowered, always empowered principle, however this recognition is limited and does not apply to renewal and transfers of mining rights.
Companies applying for new mining rights are expected to have 30% black ownership. The 2018 mining charter prescribes how this 30% should be held – 5% free carried interest must be held by the host community, 5% free carried interest must be held by qualifying employees, and the remaining 20% by black entrepreneurs. We look forward to the court judgment and hope that we will have clarity soon in regard to our regulatory framework when it comes to transformation.
What is the reason behind the backlog in obtaining permits and licenses?
The Regulator requires capacity to handle large volumes of work and people with the required skill set to assess applications to finality and an online cadastral system that works. One of the biggest difficulties has been the defective online Samrad application system. The good news is that recently the DMRE indicated that they would be releasing a request for proposals for a new cadastre system. A lengthy application process has a domino- effect and hinders progress in exploration and, ultimately, investment in mining.