South Africa Says Mine-Law Changes Are Aimed at Luring Investors

South Africa, holder of the largest known reserves of platinum and chrome, said proposed changes to its mining laws are designed to attract investors as it seeks to ease concerns that the revisions will tighten state control.

“The objective of the Amendment Bill is not intended to strangulate investment opportunities,” Minister of Mineral Resources Susan Shabangu said today at a conference in Perth, Australia. “Our amendment of the act is for the sole purpose of attracting investment for the country.”

Companies criticized the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill when it was presented to parliament in June, saying it would enable ministers to set the prices of some minerals and limit shipments abroad to secure domestic supplies. Retaining investor confidence is crucial for a country that relies on mining for more than half its exports.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the world’s biggest mining company, said the implementation of the bill in its current form would have a “material impact” on its local operations, according to the transcript of an interview with its local Chairman Xolani Mkhwanazi in Johannesburg’s Financial Mail.

Anglo American Plc (AAL), which mines coal, iron ore and platinum in South Africa, also urged the government to stop changing the rules for mining, Business Day reported, citing Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani.

The bill will ease the process of applying for authorization to mine in South Africa, Shabangu said at the conference today, according to an e-mailed copy of her speech.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andre Janse van Vuuren in Johannesburg at ajansevanvuu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net

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