South African mining companies are challenging parts of a government charter aimed at redistributing the country’s mineral wealth, saying it will deter new investment in the industry.
The charter is in breach of a court order issued last April, which ruled that previous versions of the regulations didn’t require miners to top up black-shareholding levels if they previously met a minimum 26 percent requirement, the Minerals Council South Africa said on Wednesday.
The charter, first introduced in 2004, is aimed at distributing the benefits from mining more widely among South Africans to make up for racial discrimination during apartheid
“The charter does not fully recognize the continuing consequences of previous empowerment transactions, particularly in respect of mining-right renewals and transfers of these rights,” said Roger Baxter, chief executive officer of the lobby group representing companies including Anglo American Plc and Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd.
The move is a setback for South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has said he will encourage investment by removing policy uncertainty and cracking down on the corruption and government inefficiency that characterized the rule of his predecessor Jacob Zuma. The charter, first introduced in 2004, is aimed at distributing the benefits from mining more widely among South Africans to make up for racial discrimination during apartheid.
Department of Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe finalized new mining rules for the sector last year in a bid to ease investor uncertainty. The regulations became a point of increasing frustration for producers under Mantashe’s predecessor, Mosebenzi Zwane, whose own version drew furious resistance and legal challenges.
The council has filed an application for the judicial review and setting aside of certain clauses the charter. Mining companies were obliged to make the challenge now as a 180-day...