Today's Labour News

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newsMiningmx writes that the June victory that saw thousands of zama-zamas (artisanal and illegal miners) in Kimberley acquire a mining right shifted the debate on artisanal mining in SA.  

It came after years of protests and stand-offs with police and security guards and highlighted the economic potential of the activity and the shortfalls in the current regulatory framework.  Artisanal mining is allowed in very specific and very limited situations in SA under current laws and permission is nearly impossible to get from the Minister of Mineral Resources.  “There is massive opportunity and it is entirely neglected by this lack of will by the DMR to have a structured approach to artisanal mining,” observed Johan Lorenzen, associate at Richard Spoor Attorneys.  Proponents believe a friendlier regulatory regime for artisanal mining will limit the exploitation of illegal miners, allow them to sell minerals legally at market prices, improve health, safety and environmental standards, and boost jobs and the economy.  Godfrey Oliphant, deputy minister of mineral resources, said there are two areas that could help open up the industry for artisanal miners – ownerless mines that could be remined or required rehabilitation work, and areas where companies owned mining rights, but did not plan to mine.  The law is part of the problem, and so ActionAid and Wits University have embarked on empirical studies on the economic impact of artisanal miners, legal and illegal, and to determine which regulatory changes were required to build the artisanal mining sector.

  • Read this interesting report by Jana Marais in full at Miningmx


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