South Africa To Change Mining Law

November 9, 2000

South Africa To Change Mining Law

The South African government said Tuesday it's moving ahead with a draft of a mining law that would force mining groups with unexploited reserves to use them or lose them, the Financial Times reports. The new plan is expected to foster investment by local black-owned businesses as well as foreign companies.

The proposed law would transfer mineral rights from private companies to the state. All mining groups would be required to get licenses from the state for prospecting and mining. Under the proposed law, the government says companies would have six months to explain how they would use any mineral rights they own and would lose them to the state only if they could not present a clear plan.

According to the Financial Times, most mining executives accept the proposed change, but they are concerned about the transition period and how the law will be implemented. The government has suggested a 20-year transition period, but this may not be accounted for in the legislation. The government has been negotiating the law with foreign mining companies, trade unions and other groups for the last four years.

- by Julia M. Duncan