INTERVIEW-South Africa’s mines minister open to talks with companies on new charter – by Ed Stoddard (Reuters U.K. – June 23, 2017)

MIDDELBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa Mines Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said on Friday that he was open to talks with companies over a new industry charter, as he rebuked the mining firms for planning to take the new rules to court, saying they were “negotiating in bad faith.”

Unveiled last week, the revisions to the charter raised the threshold for black ownership in the mining industry to 30 percent from 26 percent and brought in other regulations the sector said it cannot afford.

The Chamber of Mines has said it was not properly consulted and would challenge the charter in court. “Our doors are open to engagement with them. We will meet them,” Zwane said in an interview with Reuters when asked if he would negotiate with the chamber. “We do not want to go to court. We are a peaceful people,” he said.

Zwane also said he disapproved of the chamber’s court move saying “using the courts as a negotiating tool is negotiating in bad faith.”

The mines minister was speaking to Reuters at an event in the coal mining town of Middelburg where he was supposed to engage communities about the charter in a public forum. But it was disrupted by a group of demonstrators who said they were angry that no provincial officials were there and it was hastily called off.

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