CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Amendments to South Africa’s mineral resources law are expected to be passed by December and provide greater investor certainty, Mines Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said on Thursday.
Changes to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act were initially passed by parliament three years ago but were then sent back to lawmakers by President Jacob Zuma in 2015 due to concerns over its constitutionality.
“We are continuing to support the parliamentary processes towards our new target date of December 2017 for promulgation. This is not a Department of Mineral Resources goal, but a national one,” Zwane said in a speech to a conference in Australia.
South Africa’s mining sector is slowly showing signs of recovery after being battered by a global commodities downturn that hit platinum, iron ore and coal exports, although regulatory uncertainty remains a concern, analysts said.
Amendments to the MPRDA bill were first passed in 2014, but Zuma referred the bill back to parliament over concerns that it might infringe global trade obligations and was unconstitutional, partly because it elevated the country’s Mining Charter to the status of legislation.
South Africa’s Chamber of Mines, which represents the industry, has taken the government to court to block the implementation of the new Mining Charter, which gives resource firms 12 months to meet a new 30 percent minimum for black ownership, up from 26 percent.
“The 2017 Mining Charter is law, and all right-holders in South Africa are expected to implement it,” Zwane said.
Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Joe Brock and Angus MacSwan