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Business In The News South Africa

Chamber of Mines reluctantly accepts co-applicants in Mining Charter review

JOHANNESBURG, November 14 – The Chamber of Mines of South Africa said on Tuesday that it respected the decision of the high court to grant two parties leave to become co-applicants in its application for a review of the controversial Mining Charter.

 

 
This comes after the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) and Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) on behalf of three mining community organisations on Tuesday made an urgent applications at the high court in Johannesburg to be allowed to intervene as co-applicants in the matter between the Chamber and the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR).

 

 
The CALS and LHR are representing Mining Affected Communities United in Action, Women Affected by Mining United in Action, and the Mining and Environmental Justice Network of SA.

 

 
Though the Chamber had initially said it was not supporting these parties’ urgent applications because their grounds for review were materially different from those of the Chamber, it however said it respected the court’s ruling.

 

 

 
The court further ordered all parties to strictly adhere to the timelines previously laid down by the Deputy Judge President of the Gauteng High Court for the serving and filing of pleadings and heads of argument.

 

 

 
“The Chamber respects the outcome of today’s proceedings and will now shift its focus to studying the Minister’s answering affidavit which was served and filed on Friday, 10 November 2017 and preparing its replying affidavit which must be filed and served on 22 November 2017,” The Chamber said.

 

 
The Chamber is challenging the implementation of the 2017 Reviewed Mining Charter which was gazetted in June.

 

 

 
The industry body argues that the Charter would be harmful to the industry and the economy because of its content, as well as the vague and contradictory language employed to convey that content.

 

 

 
The Chamber’s application for review of the Mining Charter is scheduled to be heard by a full bench of the High Court on 13 and 14 December.

 

 

The Chamber of Mines said on Tuesday that it was not supporting the urgent applications at the High Court by two parties seeking leave to intervene as co-applicants in its application for a review of the controversial Mining Charter.

 
The two parties are the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) and Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) on behalf of three mining community organisations – Mining Affected Communities United in Action, Women Affected by Mining United in Action, and the Mining and Environmental Justice Network of SA.
CALS and the LHR submitted their papers at a very late stage.

 
The industry body said that the main reason for its decision to oppose these parties’ application to intervene as co-applicants was because their grounds for review were materially different from those of the Chamber.

 
The Chamber is challenging the implementation of the 2017 Reviewed Mining Charter which was gazetted in June, arguing that the Charter would be harmful to the industry and the economy because of its content, as well as the vague and contradictory language employed to convey that content.

 
The Chamber’s application for review of the Mining Charter is scheduled to be heard by a full bench of the High Court on 13 and 14 December.

 
“Our assessment is that it would not be possible for counsel for the Chamber and for the respondent, the Minister of Mineral Resources, to complete argument on a wide range of highly complex issues in the two allotted court days if two entire additional cases are joined,” The Chamber said.

 

 
“Arguing those grounds would take up a great deal of the limited time available.”

 

 
The Chamber said that CALS and LHR have the legal right to apply to the court to have the minister’s reviewed Mining Charter reviewed and that it would have no objection to that at all.

 

 
The industry body also said it has publicly committed to welcoming these legal group’s participation as legitimate stakeholders in future negotiations on the development of a new Charter that, it is hoped, will follow a successful outcome of this application of the Chamber.

 
The Chamber has agreed not to oppose the admission of trade union Solidarity as a friend of the court while the National Union of Mineworkers has also applied to be allowed as a friend of the court.

 
Both these applications will be dealt with by the court at the commencement of the hearing of the Chamber’s review application next month.

 

ANA

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