South African Miners Say Being Unduly Pressured Over Licenses – by Paul Burkhardt (Bloomberg News – March 17, 2016)

The Chamber of Mines of South Africa said it wants a probe into reports that mines are receiving notices from the government suspending operations because they don’t meet black ownership requirements. Those regulations are due to be ruled on by a court.

This week the High Court in Pretoria began hearing a case lodged by the Chamber, which represents companies including Glencore Plc, against the Department of Mineral Resources.

The judge is being asked to rule on the legality of a requirement added by the DMR to the mutually agreed mining charter in 2010 that requires mine assets to be at least 26 percent black-owned at all times even when black investors sell their stakes is legal. The Chamber also said safety stoppages are being issued improperly.

“The South African mining sector is in crisis,” the group said in an e-mailed statement. “Allegations of corruption and undue political influence in licensing decisions are not in the interests of the industry or the country.”

While the case pits the need to decrease racial inequality 22 years after the end of apartheid against shareholder rights, it comes at a time when the role of Mosebenzi Zwane, the mines minister, in the role of the sale of a coal mine by Glencore to friends of President Jacob Zuma and his son is being questioned.

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