The president of the Chamber of Mines of South Africa, Mxolisi Mgojo, said on Thursday that the mining industry was hard at work developing ideas on how an alternative Mining Charter could look like. 

This comes as the Chamber went to court in a bid to challenge the implementation of the 2017 Reviewed Mining Charter which was gazetted in June.

The Chamber is seeking for the Charter to be reviewed or set aside, arguing that the it 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 Charter sets new black ownership targets for the industry, including that new mining rights holders have 30 percent black ownership shared among employees, communities and black entrepreneurs. The Chamber’s application for review will be heard between December 13 and 14, at the High Court in Pretoria. 

Hostility between the mining industry and the minister of mineral resources, Mosebenzi Zwane, is at its worst, culminating with the Chamber snubbing a gala dinner at which Zwane was the guest speaker on Tuesday night. 

Speaking at the Joburg Indaba on Thursday about the contribution of the mining industry contribute to the South African economy, Mgojo said the Chamber remained committed to finding workable solutions in the national interest but no single grouping can do this alone.

“Chamber leaders are working hard at developing ideas on what a new charter could look like. We are engaging with past Chamber presidents who have been through the journey of Mining Charter one and two. We are talking to civil society organisations; we are talking to the unions; we are talking to political and government leaders,” Mgojo said.

“We will be talking to other stakeholders like the Industrial Development Corporation, Public Investment Corporation, and others. We know that real consultation, engagements and partnerships are the key to a sensible transformation journey and outcomes. We also know that there remain many legacy issues with which we have to deal with.”

Among the legacy issues, Mgojo said the Chamber was working on the challenge of unclaimed retirement fund payments, towards a settlement of silicosis claims, and dealing with a host of environmental issues relating to rehabilitation, to dust, to water, and so on.

Mgojo also said that the Chamber, a body which represents a significant portion of the mining industry, will hold government to account while ensuring that its own members’ performance on governance is beyond reproach. 

“We will hold our own members to account through our Chamber Membership compact, and ensure our own house is in order. At the same time, we will continue to call for ethical leadership and good governance in government, State-Owned Enterprises and in particular in the Department of Mineral Resources,” Mgojo said.

“We will engage key stakeholders on this journey and where necessary turn to the courts to ensure outcomes that are in the national interest. As the leadership of the Chamber we have drawn a firm line in the sand regarding our opposition to unethical leadership, bad governance and state capture.”- African News Agency (ANA)