Chamber of Mines CEO Roger Baxter addressing the third and final day of the Paydirt 2017 Africa Downunder conference in Perth on Friday (Pic supplied: Chamber of Mines)

Africa Business In The News South Africa

Chamber of Mines says it has lost confidence in Zwane’s leadership

JOHANNESBURG, September 8 – The Chamber of Mines on Friday said that its members have lost confidence in the Minister of Mineral Resources, Mosebenzi Zwane, and his leadership, saying that the department’s failures have had material costs in the industry.

The Chamber’s chief executive, Roger Baxter, said that key governance and policy challenges in South Africa have eroded business and investor confidence, and that policy and regulatory uncertainty have frozen new investment in the sector.

“It is extremely difficult to get any company investment committee to approve any new greenfields project in South Africa today,” Baxter said.

“The economic opportunity cost of the failure to get the policy, legislative, administrative and operating environment right to promote investment, growth, transformation and job creation in South African mining is material.”

Baxter was addressing the third and final day of the Paydirt 2017 Africa Downunder conference in Perth on Friday.

He said that it was very concerning that Zwane paid scant attention to this crisis in his conference presentation on Thursday, but that perhaps this was because the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) had provided no assistance to help the industry through the crisis.

Baxter said that the industry was very surprised that the Minister claims to have received positive feedback from any investor on the DMR’s Charter, or the state of the industry.

The Chamber is currently embroiled in a court challenge with the DMR trying to interdict the implementation of the controversial Reviewed Mining Charter which sets new stringent targets for the industry.

Baxter stated that the Chamber and its members have lost confidence in Zwane and in his leadership of the DMR.

He said that the industry was of the firm view that the DMR’s Charter is designed to benefit a select few at the expense of the whole country.”

“Significant corruption allegations against the Minister and the DMR have not been cleared and the proposed judicial commission of enquiry into state capture has not been established,” Baxter said.

“The industry does not believe that the approach adopted by the DMR is serving the national interest of the country and the negative impacts of the unilaterally imposed Reviewed Mining Charter, the proposed section 49 rights moratorium, the non-resolution of the charter ownership issues, imposition of inappropriate section 54 safety stoppages, for example, have created a major crisis for the sector.”

The Chamber of Mines on Friday decried the state of the South African mining industry, saying that the industry was in crisis and that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) had provided no assistance to help the industry.

Chamber of Mines chief executive, Roger Baxter, said that business confidence in South Africa was at its lowest levels in more than three decades.

“The South African mining sector is renowned for its long cold winters and short hot summers,” Baxter said.

“There are a number of critical factors impacting South Africa’s investment attractiveness…including the fact the mining industry has lost confidence in the DMR Minister.”

Baxter was addressing the third and final day of the Paydirt 2017 Africa Down-under conference in Perth on Friday.

The Chamber is currently embroiled in a court challenge with the DMR trying to interdict the implementation of the controversial Reviewed Mining Charter which sets new stringent targets for the industry.

Baxter said that key governance and policy challenges in South Africa had eroded business and investor confidence, undermining investment.

“Policy and regulatory uncertainty have ‘frozen’ new investment in the sector,” Baxter said.

“Real mining GDP in 2016 (R226 billion) is smaller than it was in 1994 (R242 billion). Real mining fixed investment has shrunk over the past two years. The industry made an accumulated loss of over R30 billion in 2015.”

Baxter said 65 percent of South African platinum mining was loss-making this year.

“The DMR has provided no assistance to help the industry through the crisis,” Baxter said.

“The economic opportunity cost of the failure to get the policy, legislative, administrative and operating environment right to promote investment, growth, transformation and job creation in South African mining is material.”

– African News Agency (ANA)

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