- Talks between ministry, industry scheduled for April 25, 26
- Minister says discussions period may extend beyond 30 days
South Africa’s government will meet with mining companies next week to resolve a dispute over black ownership laws, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said.
Talks will take place April 25 and April 26, Zwane told reporters at AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.’s TauTona mine west of Johannesburg Friday.
The government published draft proposals earlier on April 15 stating that mines must be at least 26 percent-owned by black investors, even if those stakes are subsequently sold. Mining executives have argued this will lead to existing investors’ stakes being continually diluted.
“If you look at our constitution and our National Development Plan, transformation is part of our constitution,” Zwane said. “We’re saying ‘let’s talk, give us your views.’” The initial discussion period of 30 days from last Friday may be extended, he said.
The Department of Mineral Resources and the Chamber of Mines, which represents the largest producers in the country such as Anglo American Plc, have gone to court over their interpretation of the Mining Charter, which was introduced in 2004. The companies say they have met the rules to hold licenses even after black investors sold their stakes.
AngloGold Ashanti Chief Executive Officer Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan said the rules must avoid “double jeopardy,” meaning that companies should not be punished for abiding by historic regulations.