South Africa Mines Support Resources-Bill Split to Speed Passage

South Africa’s mining lobby supports plans to cut the sections covering oil and gas from a resources bill so the legislation on mines already agreed is passed quickly.

Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi said Jan. 21 he preferred oil and gas legislation to be split off into a separate bill and mining laws to be implemented as agreed.

“We hope that where we had reached a compromised consensus on the act and it will remain unchanged and the minister’s statements indicate that indeed that will be the case,” Chamber of Mines President Mike Teke said today in a statement.

South African President Jacob Zuma declined to sign planned changes to the 2002 Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill on grounds they may violate the constitution and referred them back to Parliament. Oil and gas explorers such as Total SA and Exxon Mobil Corp. have opposed the provisions, saying they are too vague and would undermine business.

The mining lobby, representing companies including BHP Billiton Ltd., Rio Tinto Group and AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., said delays in passing the law will deter investment, adding to risks from power shortages in the nation.

Sending the bill back to Parliament will “extend policy uncertainty for the mining sector,” Mark Rosenberg, Africa director at Eurasia Group in New York, said in a Jan. 21 note.

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