South Africa’s mines minister aims for new mining charter by May

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JOHANNESBURG, April 10 – South Africa’s mines
minister Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday he was still aiming to
finalise the third version of an industry charter by May that lays
out requirements for black ownership levels and other targets.

“I am still confident that we will finalise the charter by
May. Very confident,” Mantashe said in a speech at a platinum
mining conference in Johannesburg. South Africa is the world’s
top producer of the precious metal.

The charter revisions proposed by Mantashe’s predecessor
were opposed by the industry, which for years has been grappling
with depressed prices, outbursts of labour and social unrest and
policy uncertainty.

The charter’s problem areas included raising the target for
black ownership to 30 percent from 26 percent. The industry had
challenged the revisions in court but put the judicial process
on hold after new South African President Cyril Ramaphosa
appointed Mantashe in February.

Mantashe is a former General Secretary of the powerful
National Union of Mineworkers and is chairman of the ruling
African National Congress. He is known for his gruff, blunt
style and tough negotiating skills.

When the charter is finalised the industry will be legally
required to follow its targets and regulations.

-(Reuters)