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nickhollandBusiness Report writes that, as the Chamber of Mines on Tuesday defended itself against claims by Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane – that it was trying to block transformation in the industry – with counter-allegations of transparency, Gold Fields chief executive Nick Holland said the mining company would favour talks to resolve issues regarding the charter over court action.

Holland told Bloomberg television the issue might affect other companies considering restructuring or deals, but that it was not affecting Gold Fields operations or plans.

He said it was unclear how the court challenge against the third version of the mining charter would pan out.

The charter process had followed a lack of consultation with industry, he said.

The charter, among other stipulations, requires that new mining rights must have a 30 percent black ownership and that a holder of a new mining right pay 1 percent of turnover to black shareholders prior to any distribution to shareholders.

The chamber applied to the court for an urgent interdict against the implementation of the charter, which was gazetted on June 15. In a surprise move, Zwane backtracked on his decision for a moratorium on the granting of new mining licences.

Responding to comments by Zwane, the chamber on Tuesday said it was not true that it was opposed to the transformation of the mining industry.

“The chamber’s only proviso is that real transformation must be implemented with due regard to what is achievable, bearing in mind the realities of the situation the industry faces,” it said.

The chamber also charged that transformation advocated in the charter was designed to benefit the interests of a select few, while killing any appetite for investment and leading to further job losses.

“The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR’s) Reviewed Charter is designed to extract billions of rand in revenues annually from mining right holders into an agency controlled solely by the Minister of Mineral Resources. This agency has no governance in place and the irresistible conclusion is that its purpose is not to benefit transformation,” it said.

About 20 000 mineworkers are facing the threat of retrenchments after Sibanye Gold, AngloGold Ashanti and Atlatsa Resources said they planned to mothball loss-making shafts.

The chamber blamed the DMR for having no transparency and for not indicating who would access the funds, and how the funds would be accountable.

“This is further an unconstitutional attempt to collect an additional tax,” the chamber said.

Zwane on Monday finally submitted an answering affidavit to the chamber’s application to interdict the charter.

This after Judge Ramarumo Monama criticised him for “disrespecting” the court for missing the deadline for filing court documents.

Zwane accused the chamber of making “an attempt to block effective and meaningful participation of black persons in the mining and minerals industry”.

Zwane also blamed the chamber for overstating the impact of the charter.

“The applicant’s complaint that R50 billion has been wiped off mining stocks is, with respect, bizarre. When any legislative or policy change in the country is mooted and debated, it affects those in economic control who might choose in the short term to sell their stocks. To use the litmus test of the short-term movement in mining stocks in response to a policy shift as a gauge for the lawfulness of those legislative interventions is incorrect,” he said.

Zwane also dismissed the chamber’s complaints that it had not been consulted in the drafting of the charter, saying it had had 17 meetings with the chamber between March 2016 and March 2017.

The original of this report by Dineo Faku is on page 20 of Business Report of 10 August 2017

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