South African Miners Apply to Court to Block Government Charter

JOHANNESBURGH (Capital Markets in Africa) – Johannesburg South Africa’s mining companies have applied to the High Court in Pretoria to block the government’s Mining Charter, arguing that the new rules would destroy the industry.

The Chamber of Mines, which represents mining companies, has applied for an urgent interdict that would halt the implementation of the charter, published by the Department of Mineral Resources on June 15, it said in an emailed statement Monday. The group plans to follow with an application to have the charter reviewed.

Mining companies will be required to raise black-ownership levels to 30 percent under the new rules, up from 26 percent currently, and previous deals from which black investors have since sold out are not given full credit. That would force many companies to sell additional stakes, potentially diluting existing investors. The government says the rules are required because companies have been too slow to redress the inequity caused by apartheid.

In its current form, the charter will “destroy the very industry whose survival is necessary” to meet the objectives of the country’s minerals legislation, the Chamber said in its application to the court. It also argues that the charter assumes powers that reside with parliament and contradicts itself. 

“Legal experts themselves are confused and find themselves unable to provide clear advice to their mining and investment clients as to the meaning and effect of the 2017 Charter,” the Chamber said.

Source: Bloomberg Business News

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