PRETORIA, Sept 27 (Reuters) – South Africa unveiled a new regulatory charter for its mining industry on Thursday, a crucial step to attracting further investment to a sector laid low by depressed prices, soaring costs and murky policy.
It is part of an affirmative action drive to reverse black people’s exclusion from the mainstream economy under apartheid and pointedly targets the mining industry, which accounts for about 8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product now, but laid the foundations for Africa’s most industrialised economy.
Presented by Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe, the third version of the charter requires miners to provide their local communities and employees with a free 10 percent stake, a policy some companies may be pressed to bear but which unions say is needed to secure social peace.
“Regulatory and policy uncertainty is removed. We have a duty now to mobilise investment into mining,” Mantsahe, a gruff former trade unionist and senior member of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), told a media briefing.
The charter raises the level of black ownership as expected to 30 percent from 26 percent for new mining rights while companies that have met the 26 percent threshold do not have to increase it.