EWB-SA Mining for Shared Value held a panel discussion on the 1st of September 2016 at Wits University’s Mining Chambers 1 in association with the Young Professionals Council of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. The core objective of the panel discussion was to get attendees informed about the Mineral & Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) with a particular focus on the mining charter and its core implications on the mining houses, communities as well as all the interested parties.
The panel featured 4 well-seasoned lawyers that specialize in mining laws namely Tiyani Majoka , Co-founder and Director of Lawgistics Legal Consultants ; Janine Howard, Associate Baker & McKenzie; Itumeleng Kgatla , Law lecturer Tshwane University of Technology, and Nina Braude , Candidate Attorney Baker & McKenzie. It was led by Nikita Vala of EWB-SA.
The focal themes were structural governance in the mining space, ownership of the land, transformation, local procurement, beneficiation & environmental sustainability. The structural governance of the country was found to be fair, and on par with the rest of the worlds mineral resource policies.
The theme of ownership of the land had two extremes the first was about the relationship between surface rights and mineral rights; the second was about the definition of “sufficient” community engagement by mining houses. The social license to operate has become more and more of a critical factor in the initiation phase of mining operations across the country but a clear definition of what “sufficient’’ community engagement prior to the application for a mineral right has not been clearly established.
It was also observed that a clear definition of “The community” is lacking which at times impedes the mining companies from properly compensating the communities. A question of tribal land, and how reimbursing the chief of a community rather than the entire community may not lead to fair returns on most of the community members was also raised. Other themes included Transformation, local procurement; beneficiation & environmental sustainability. The law was found to be a well written document that is robust in theory but may lack detail on how the implementation of its core themes will be executed.